Furnace Festival will be Sept. 25-26

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

It’s a trip back in time when iron furnaces dotted the landscape and many a person made a living from them.

The fourth annual Vesuvius Iron Furnace Festival will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26 at Lake Vesuvius.

Each year the festival features a different pig iron furnace and spotlights its history. This year Lagrange Furnace will be featured.

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Friday morning’s activities are dedicated to school children with a visit from Gen. James Sherman — sort of.

Historian Frank Bulloch, who portrays Sherman in a History Alive program, will speak to students as the Civil War general.

That will be at 11 a.m. at Ohio University Southern’s Bowman Auditorium.

At 4:30 p.m. Friday, the OUS Activity band will perform at the Lake Vesuvius nature center amphitheater. At 5:30 p.m. the group Kelley’s Bridge will perform just before Bulloch takes the stage as General Sherman. He will discuss the Battle of Atlanta and the march to the sea.

The activities begin again at 9 a.m. Saturday with opening ceremonies. Radio personality J.B. Miller will be master of ceremonies.

At 10:30 a.m., Brian Kelley portrays John Campbell, the founder of Ironton and an iron master.

His presentation will be followed by Ed Meyers, who will portray an iron furnace worker.

At 11:30 a.m. historian Kay Rader will portray the wealthy woman ironmaster, Nannie Kelley Wright.

At noon, the nature center’s snake expert Larry Cartmill will present a program on snakes.

At 3 p.m. the Harmonica Club will perform.

In addition to the historic presentations and music, there will be numerous exhibitors and historical demonstrations.

Each hour will be marked by the 1st Ohio Light Artillery cannon. Exhibitors will include spinner from the Good News Llamas, a quilt exhibit, an exhibit on bees from Reid’s Apriary, a blacksmith demonstration, and free face painting for kids.

There will also be iron furnace displays, an Underground Railroad display and a book sale sponsored by the American Association of University Women. Also, local historian Lori Shafer will be on hand to sign her first book, “Iron Furnaces of Lawrence County, Ohio.”

There will also be wagon rides to the Vesuvius Cemetery and a presentation on the people buried there.

The Lawrence County Historical Society will sell sandwiches, soft drinks and soup beans and cornbread.