SHAFER, Minn. (WCCO) — You likely bought or got roses and chocolates this Valentine’s Day. What can you do to make the weekend particularly memorable for your sweetheart?
On Saturday, the Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Minn. is offering a unique, alternative option — an iron pour. Sure, it’s not the valentine message you’d expect to see, but the iron pour invites people to think outside the box.
The day before the pour is a day of assembling equipment and getting the fire started. Members of the Franconia community work to get piles of scrap iron ready.
It takes temperatures as high as 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit to turn the scrap into molten metal. Foundry coke is then added into the furnace to help the melting process.
The performance is mesmerizing for onlookers, as they watch a fiery red-hot waterfall of molten iron, complete with sparks.
The iron is moved through a trough and flows into a ladle before being brought over to molds that have been customized and hand carved by hundreds of members of the public.
The iron cools instantly once it hits the molds and, lickety-split, participants are left with works of personal art.
In some ways, the immense spectacle reminds the pourers of love — a bit exciting, a bit dangerous — which is a concept quite befitting its proximity to Valentine’s Day.
The midwinter iron pour at Franconia was scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday and run until 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.