PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee — There are some things you expect to see at a theme park: roller coasters, fried foods, carnival games.

But at Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, there’s something you probably weren’t expecting: a working blacksmith.

John Fuller has worked at the theme park for years, carrying on a blacksmith tradition that started centuries earlier in this part of Tennessee. The town Pigeon Forge got its name from an iron forge built by the Little Pigeon River in the early 1800s.

The park, named after co-owner Dolly Parton, employs blacksmiths, glass blowers and many other craftspeople who are masters at activities that were once required to thrive in remote mountain towns. In 2015, the difficult work of a blacksmith can be more ornamental than practical, but the park takes pride in preserving and showcasing the skills. Read more…

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What it takes to be a blacksmith in 2015