Take notice Rutland. I attended an event in Rutland this evening that was one of the best events I've attended in Rutland in a long time. The Iron Guild hosted a public Iron Pour at the Mac Steel scrap yard on North Main Street. I happened to see it mentioned in the Rutland Herald today, and it sounded so interesting that I made it a point to go over this evening. Overall, I think the evening was a success although there could have been slightly better planning for a few aspects.
I have to say, the event did not start well. We approached the Mac Steel yard from the south, which put the scrap yard on our right. As we approached the entrance, we could see people standing and vaguely directing traffic on both sides of the 4 lane road. It was not until we were upon the entrance that we noticed the large barrels blocking the driveway into yard. As we slowed, obviously confused, one of the men standing near the barrels pointed directly across the street into a large parking lot. We assumed he intended to communicate to us to park in that lot. We drove up the street, turned around and came back, only to discover a sign specifically saying no parking in that lot. This left us even further confused and now annoyed. We tried the next parking lot, but it was full. Again, we turned around, drove back to the driveway in which we had initially turned around, and hunted out a parking space. A much better plan would involved more clearly marked parking.
Once on foot and headed for the yard, we noticed a small sign attached to the large sign calling out the Iron Pour. The small sign noted that a $5 donation was suggested. There had been no mention of a fee in the notice in the newspaper, which left us feeling bad because none of us had brought any cash. Whether this was a failing by the folks organizing the event, or the Rutland Herald reporting on it, I can't say. But, I do wish I'd known about the donation request.
Further adding to the annoying aspect of the event was the weather: it was drizzling. Now, it wasn't particularly cold and it wasn't raining very hard, so we simply wore raincoats and hats. A good 50% of the other attendees brought umbrellas. Very large umbrellas. Umbrellas that blocked the view for many of us, and nearly injured not a small number of us. I, personally, was almosted poked in the face by two umbrellas.
As for the Iron Pour itself, it was amazing. The structure was reminiscent of a cathedral or castle. The molten melted sparking and splashing was amazing. Watching the guild members work in the middle of the sparks and pouring iron was both horrifying and intriguing. The piece they cast during the pour was their own guild mark, which you see on their website. They raised it above the whole structure part way through the pour and we were able to watch it cool. The only unfortunate part of the pour was that the two towers, which were stacked full of pallets, were obviously supposed to ignite and they didn't. Despite help from a blow torch, the pallets were too wet and poorly stacked to catch fire.
Now, the pour itself was great, but it is the crowd of people I would more like to comment upon. There was a very large crowd, especially considering the weather. And it was probably the most diverse crowd of people I've ever seen in Rutland except maybe for during the fair. There were people of all ages, from toddlers to folks in the 60's and 70's. There were people from all walks of life, from those obviously very well off, to those obviously not so well off. There were people I can only describe as from an "underground" type aspect of society. It was amazing to see this diversity present and awed by an event in Rutland. So, pay attention Rutland. Notice what just brought out all these people, not few of which I overheard mentioning that they came tonite specifically because they'd seen, and been impressed by, previous events. This could be something for Rutland. This sort of event is obviously a draw for people, and for people of all ages and walks of life. This could point to something that would bring life back to Rutland. Not to mention, that there is already the Carving Studio in West Rutland which seems to grow more and more each year. The Iron Guild specifically mentioned the Carving Studio as an ally in their venture. I would certainly turn out for another such event. And I'd be more than willing to contribute the $5 donation. Come on Rutland and let's do something good for the city.
Oh, yeah, and as a note to myself: next time bring the camera, stupid! The rain wasn't enough to be a problem, and the cell phone simply couldn't do this justice.