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Iron Furnace Festival celebrates history

Volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the Vesuvius Iron Furnace Festival, which kicks off Friday at Lake Vesuvius.

A group of about 50 people from a plethora of local groups and organizations are putting together the second annual event, which won an award from the U.S. For-estry Ser-vice in its inaugural year for its work promoting local history.

Furnace festival events begin Friday evening and run through Saturday evening. All activities are centered around the Ohio University Southern Nature Center Amphitheater.

Gloria Chrismer, Ironton district ranger at Wayne National Forest, said she and the other organizers are getting very excited about the upcoming event.

“I think it teaches us about our history. It helps us to take pride in our community,” said Chrismer.

She said the event is also a good time for families and friends to get together.

“It’s an event that is fun and it doesn’t cost a whole lot to bring the family to,” she said.

Chrismer said she is expecting people from as far away as Florida to come back to Ironton for the festival.

There will be a variety of displays and entertainment acts at the festival. In addition to music and historical interpretations, there will be a petting zoo, a blacksmith showing off his talents, an Underground Railroad display and a Civil War re-enactment.

Bob Culp, OUS Nature Center director, said he was pleasantly surprised with last year’s attendance and hopes that more people will come out for the event this weekend.

“We are hoping that this will be the start of a pretty significant tourist event in the area,” Culp said.

He said many people have worked for years to get the event up and running.