2008-08-21 / Happenings

Black Iron Days coming to Hartwick Pines

The Michigan Forest Visitor Center and Hartwick Pines Logging Museum has announced its annual Black Iron Days will be held Aug. 23- 24 at Hartwick Pines State Park, northeast of Grayling.

VILLAGE SMITHY A blacksmith and his young apprentice demonstrate their craft during a previous Black Iron Days celebration at Hartwick Pines State Park. (Courtesy photo) VILLAGE SMITHY A blacksmith and his young apprentice demonstrate their craft during a previous Black Iron Days celebration at Hartwick Pines State Park. (Courtesy photo) It is the largest annual gathering of blacksmiths in Michigan, normally with more than 50 craftsmen and craftswomen plying their trade. On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors may take in the sights, sounds and scents of the historic sawmill cutting logs into pine boards and listen to traditional music played by "The Cousins Music Group." There will be hands-on activities for children of all ages and demonstrations by woodworkers, weavers and wool spinners.

At 1 p.m on Saturday, there will be a game of "Vintage Base Ball," with the Hartwick Pines Swampers playing the Mighty River Hogs of Midland County at the ball field at the park's picnic area.

The game is a chance to see baseball as it was played in the mid-1800s with no glove and rules that are quite different from the game played today.

Also on Saturday, at 3 p.m., Jan VanHoesen's "Live Lynx Program" will take place at the Michigan Forest Visitor Center. Visitors may meet "Crystal," a Canada lynx, and other wild animals in the educational program.

Black Iron Days is held on the grounds of the Logging Museum at Hartwick Pines. The museum is a field site of the Michigan Historical Museum and interprets the white pine logging era of 1840- 1910. Black Iron Days is sponsored by the Friends of Hartwick Pines, and all proceeds go toward the interpretive and educational programs at the park.

Looking ahead to fall, Hartwick Pines will feature "An Evening at the Logging Museum" Sept. 20 and "Critters in the Moonlight" Halloween Walk Oct. 18. For information about Black Iron Days or other programs at Hartwick Pines, call (989) 348-2537. There is no charge for attending Black Iron Days, but a state park motor vehicle permit is required for park entry. Cost is $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily. A nonresident annual is $29 and a nonresident daily is $8.

For information about events, the park, accessibility at the park or persons with disabilities needing accommodations to attend events, contact Park Interpreter Craig Kasmer or Park Supervisor Jon Gregorich at (989) 348-2537 (or TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) or view information about details at www.michigan. gov/hartwickpines.

Hartwick Pines State Park is at 4216 Ranger Road, off M-93, three miles from exit 259 north of Grayling. Camping reservations can be made on-line at www.midnrreservations.com or by calling 800-44-PARKS.

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