Peters Valley Pig-Iron Fest

2007 Peters Valley
Pig-Iron Fest

Once again, Bruce Ringier (member of the board of both NJBA and Peters Valley) brought off a successful Pig-Iron Fest on Sat., Sep. 1. I carpooled up with Bruce Hay, with the full intention of drinking our share of the beer and not coming home till Sunday. (Come to think of it, you don't need to read this report. It's the same one I've given every year I've attended the Pig-Iron Fest!)

The Fest was the usual combination of lots of food, lots of beer (and wine and soft drinks), a demonstrator (Bob Compton), lots of interesting company, the auction (with lots of items), and a raffle of two anvils and a hot-cut hardy. The Fest was earlier in the season than usual, apparently to avoid a conflict, and a class (pattern-welded steel) was in session during the Fest. (I understand that these lucky participants got to partake of the feast for a somewhat reduced admission charge.)

There was a new stage or bandstand across from the blacksmith shop, thanks to the effort of Bruce Ringier and friends. Bruce recounted the harrowing cutting of an old tree standing in the way of progress. The location was dictated by a pre-existing foundation on the site. The structure itself, post-and-beam, was moved from another location in Peters Valley, with new roof and flooring added. (The structure is without walls). The band apparently was quite pleased with the new "digs."

There were numerous items in the auction this year. I marked down a few I was interested in - but I apparently haven't the disposable income of some of the PV supporters, and bidding rapidly exceeded what I could afford. That was great for PV, but disappointing for me. I had to drown my sorrows, which end was fortunately facilitated by the liquid refreshments at hand! Bruce and I had intended to schlepp up a few of the stainless steel forge hoods made at the recent workshop, one as a donation to PV, the rest for sale. At the last minute, Marshall Bienstock confirmed he could attend this year and that he had room in his car to take them up. In donating the hood, we'd stipulated PV could use it or auction it off at their preference. They chose to keep it for their use, but Bruce Ringier gave NJBA some great publicity, and we sold one of the other hoods. Furthermore, Bruce Ringier is hanging onto the other (two?) hoods Marshall brought up there, with the intention of selling them for NJBA - probably in the spring when PV classes resume. Marshall also brought, and sold some of, the remaining NJBA T-shirts, which some folks proudly wore that or the next day.

I spent most of my time visiting with old and new friends. Tim Miller showed up with his charming assistant, Mary - a painter working on an MFA, who was delighted to have found a place to learn blacksmithing on Long Island. Tim expressed interest in holding more events on Long Island.

As per the norm, the crowd started thinning toward evening, but a few of us die-hards hung around till well after dark. We sat around the campfire and traded lies. I managed to toddle off to bed in Valley Brook at 2 AM. Bruce Hay slept (?) in a hammock strung across the stage, which accounted for his being up early, hungry, and in need of coffee by the time I was up, showered, and dressed in the morning.

After a breakfast run to Layton, Bruce and I returned to pick up the NJBA T-shirts and to say goodbye to Bruce Ringier and Bob Compton. The Peters Valley short-sleeved T-shirts hadn't nearly sold out, so I bought a dozen, in three sizes, to resell ($15 ea) at Marshall's open forge meetings. Interested persons may see them in the carpenters shop along with the few remaining NJBA T-shirts. (Money should come to me, but you can give it to Marshall if you're careful to stipulate it's for the yellow PV shirt, not the blue NJBA shirt.) Report by Bruce Freeman