Heavy Metal Headlines Fitchburg Forge-in
By Amanda Burke
FITCHBURG -- The annual Fitchburg Forge-In, when budding blacksmiths and pros alike create iron objects live before festival attendees, returns to Riverfront Park on Saturday.
And this year, the forge-in is one of many attractions at the 15th Annual Blacksmith Art and Renaissance Festival, which will also feature music, art and theatrical performances of the Renaissance era.
“This year we have an enormous production by the Renaissance group that’s coming, and they are very enthusiastic,” said organizer Achla Bahl Madan, owner of ACHLA Designs.
The Blacksmith and Renaissance Festival runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Riverfront Park rain or shine, she said.
Set to appear are vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry and medieval costumes to accessories and handmade leather drums.
A harpist will wander the festival grounds, and a cappella band will entertain the crowd and Ted Hinmin will do a live demonstration of historical blacksmithing techniques.
Historical combat will be recreated by the Knights of Lord Talbot, a group that performs unscripted armored combat demonstrations across the state.
But the event that started it all, the forge-in, has not been forgotten.
Several professional and intermediate blacksmiths, as well as about 30 student novices will compete for $5,000 in cash prizes.
Competitors will bring their anvils, hammers and heath and each create a pair of twisted hooks, a fire rake and a caliper in a limited amount of time.
Their work will be judged by Nicholas Downing, a graduate of the New England School of Metalwork and blacksmith teacher.
Students from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School and Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School represent much of the novice category.
For co-organizer and Madan’s husband Ashok Hingorany, the student competitors are the stars of the festival, proving the ancient art of blacksmithing will live on.
“It’s the kids that bring the excitement,” he said. “That’s the generation that everyone’s looking forward to passing on these kinds of skills.”