A blacksmith at the John Deere Historic Site
GRAND DETOUR, Illinois (July 15, 2014) – The company John Deere founded has a presence around the world, but it all started in Grand Detour, Illinois, where Deere forged the first self-scouring steel plow more than 177 years ago. To celebrate the blacksmith's history and trade, the John Deere Historic Site is hosting Hammer In 2014 on August 2-3. Dozens of blacksmiths from the Midwest will fill the grounds of the John Deere Historic Site to provide demonstrations, sell their work, and introduce the public to one of the oldest trades in the world.
In addition to blacksmithing, other trades will be exhibiting their skills and selling their wares including basket weavers, broom makers, trappers, wheelwrights, woodwrights and more.
From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will see how blacksmiths and other tradesmen mold and craft their wares into works of art and household goods. Many of the products for sale during the event will be made on location.
On Saturday, at noon, guests will be treated to the sound of dozens of blacksmiths hammering in unison during an official "Anvils Ring." A food vendor will be on site and a charity auction will also take place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 2. Proceeds from the auction will be divided between the Upper Midwest Blacksmith and Illinois Valley Blacksmith Associations, both event sponsors, for their scholarship programs.
"We are proud to host another Hammer In event. It provides a unique and exciting way to educate people about the historical significance of the blacksmith trade," said Brian Holst, Manager of the John Deere Historic Site. "Blacksmiths were essential to the pioneer way of life and we look forward to celebrating their history. We enjoy demonstrating the trade and art and celebrating a skill that has a deep history, yet is still active today."
This year, the John Deere Historic Site is celebrating its 50th year as a tourist attraction. To commemorate the anniversary, a new statue, which is a replica of the original plow John Deere fashioned 177 years ago, will be unveiled at the event. Made from steel by a small team of blacksmiths, the statue, which is twice the size of the original plow, will become a permanent structure at the site.
The John Deere Historic Site held its first Hammer In event in 2004, with 75 blacksmiths, attracting thousands from around the country. Hammer In events have been hosted here every other year since.
Admission is $5.00 for 12 years and older, children under 12 are free. For more information, please contact the John Deere Historic Site at 815-652-4551. The Site is located five miles north of Dixon on Hwy 2 (Between Dixon and Oregon).
About the John Deere Historic Site
The John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour is the original Illinois homestead of John Deere and is the location where he built his first "self-polishing" steel plow. The Historic Site was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, and a Historic Landmark of Agricultural Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. The home Deere built still stands and is now accompanied by a replicated blacksmith shop, an exhibit of Deere's original tools unearthed during an archeological dig, and a visitor center and gift shop. In the atmosphere of a friendly 19th century village, informed tour guides provide an entertaining and educational perspective of life on the prairie. The John Deere Historic Site is open to the public May through October and is funded and managed by the John Deere Foundation. For more information, please call 815-652-4551 or visit www.JohnDeereHistoricSite.com.