On July 4th, the Museum of Appalachia celebrates Independence Day in dramatic fashion. For nearly 30 years, the Museum has celebrated the Fourth of July by practicing the pioneer-tradition of “anvil-shooting.”
Each year, huge crowds gather to watch the Museum blacksmith as he packs gunpowder between two anvils and lights a fuse—launching the top anvil some 125 feet into the air. As the anvil soars high above the treetops, the earth literally shakes, and the sound of the explosion can be heard as far as 15 miles away.
Before there were fireworks, shooting the anvil was a common way for pioneers to celebrate special events, a press release said. Local blacksmiths would practice this tradition to celebrate the nation’s Independence, Christmas, and even Davy Crockett’s election to the U.S. Congress.
“While the tradition of anvil-shooting is nearly obsolete, the Museum honors our ancestors by carrying on this unique and exciting form of celebration,” the press release said.
Although the anvil shoot is the highlight of the occasion, the celebration also includes a variety of other activities. There will be Appalachian music and patriotic demonstrations—including the raising of the Liberty Pole and a bell-ringing ceremony. Visitors can wander the Museum’s Village and see historic demonstrations of sawmilling, ragdoll making, weaving, blacksmithing, mountain dulcimer playing, sassafras tea brewing, cedar rail splitting, vintage baseball demonstrations, and more.
The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with special Independence Day activities from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Anvil Shoots are scheduled for 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.
Admission is charged, but the event is free for Museum members. To purchase advance tickets, call (865) 494-7680.
Copyright 2016 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.