Thursday, September 17, 2015

Prairie Days Log House and Blacksmith Shop

Prairie Days will be a flurry of activity at the Log House and Blacksmith shop at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Not only will they both be open, as they are almost every Saturday from 1pm to 4pm, but they also will both be housing all kinds of demonstrations. The log house was built from 2003 to 2006 and is based on a 1795-1825 log home. It opened at the 2006 Prairie Days which makes 2015 the 10th anniversary of the Log House at the festival. It was then and still is a work in progress as it grows in volunteers and items donated every year to support the specific theme and time period. At Prairie Days this year, the Log House will feature quilting, weaving, spinning, and knitting demonstrations.

The Blacksmith’s shop opened in 2013 and features a working forge, bellows, and tool display accommodating almost any project a blacksmith had to tackle. Like the Log House, community support played a huge role in its inception. It was built with volunteer labor and donated logs, and the tools, benches, and bellows all were provided through donations. A blacksmith was essential to any community as he made everything from the heaviest axle and tire to the smallest rivet in a wagon. From the weather vane to the butcher knife, the blacksmith touched almost every aspect of life. Hank Steinmetz, master blacksmith, of Blacksmoke Forge will be working in the Blacksmith’s Shop throughout the weekend as will many other volunteers. Visitors will see all types of skills demonstrated and see useful everyday items like “S” hooks and stick and tommys forged. Follow the sound of hammers ringing off the anvil to learn more about one of the most essential trades for hundreds of years.

Come explore all these demonstrations, talk with the historical interpreters, and enjoy all the other fun, educational, and family friendly activities at the 2015 Prairie Days festival, September 26th from 10am to 5pm and September 27th from 12pm to 5pm. The event has plenty of free parking and free admission. For questions or more information, call the Nature Center at (937) 548-0165.

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