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Museum of Appalachia to shoot anvils into the air for Fourth of July

The museum hosts the traditional anvil shoot every Fourth of July, blasting a gunpowder-filled anvil high into the sky.

NORRIS, Tenn. — Every Independence Day, fireworks fill the sky in cities across the country. And in East Tennessee, 150-pound anvils will be shot up with them.

The annual anvil shoot will kick off this year at the Museum of Appalachia. Officials said anvil shoots were once a common way for pioneers to celebrate holidays, elections and special occasions.

“When the gunpowder ignites and the anvil soars into the air, the earth literally shakes,” says Elaine Meyer, the president of the Museum of Appalachia. “The explosion can be heard for several miles.”

The annual tradition was restricted to a small audience in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year though, the museum is opening tickets up for anvil shoots every hour from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. and another at 3 p.m.

Anyone who wants to attend can purchase tickets online. They are available at a 50% discount through June 28, according to officials. The event is also free for members of the museum.

The anvil shoots are not the only event at the museum on the Fourth of July — they are just the centerpiece. There will also be a celebration that includes a bell-ringing ceremony, a flag procession, live music, demonstrations from blacksmiths, beekeepers, spinners, weavers, sawmillers, woodworkers and more.