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Monday, April 15, 2024

Blacksmiths heading to Fort King this weekend to showcase their skills

An event showcasing the talents and skills of blacksmiths will be held this weekend at the Fort King National Historic Landmark.

On Saturday, February 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department will host the ‘Hammer In’ event at Fort King, which is located at 3925 E Fort King Street in Ocala.

During the inaugural event, which is free and open to the public, blacksmiths belonging to the Florida Artist Blacksmith Association (FABA) will demonstrate their abilities.

This May will mark the one-year anniversary of the fort’s blacksmith shop. Members from the Gainesville and Central Florida region of FABA will celebrate the occasion by designing and forging historically accurate hardware and functional tools to accentuate the Blacksmith Shop, blockhouses, and gate doors of the fort.

Blacksmith Shop at Fort King (completed) feature image
The blacksmith shop at Fort King officially opened in May 2023. (Photo: Fort King National Historic Landmark)

The project will be ongoing until completed, according to the recreation and parks department.

The public is invited to this Saturday’s free event to see the blacksmith shop in action while learning from masters of the trade as they work around the shop on over 15 portable forges. Keith Hill, Forged in the Fire champion and construction site lead, will also be in attendance to share how he continues to educate the community about 1800s history and techniques.

Blacksmith demonstrating abilities (Photo by Ocala Recreation and Parks Department)
Forged in the Fire champion Keith Hill will be at Fort King on Saturday for the duration of the “Hammer In” event. (Photo: Ocala Recreation and Parks Department)

Parking for this event will be held at the Duke Energy Lot. Signs will be in place directing traffic to the parking area, and a shuttle will be available for transportation to the fort on the day of the event.

For more information, visit the City of Ocala’s Fort King National Historic Landmark webpage or call the Ocala Recreation and Parks Department at 352-368-5517.