Blacksmithing, cooking demo is step back in time

  • Gwen Rodriguez (left) led an outdoor cooking demonstration at Barnwell State Park.

Barnwell State Park recently held a demonstration that took people back in time.

Derral Linder gave a presentation on the history and art of blacksmithing on Nov. 25 while Gwen Rodriguez did an outdoor cooking presentation. She cooked chili, baked beans and bread in cast iron pots over a wood fire. She said people in the 17th Century used a mustard sauce for the beans because they thought tomatoes were poisonous.

Among those attending the event were Sid and Tina Long of North Augusta and several other family members. Tina found the presentation interesting because their North Carolina house has hinges made by blacksmiths and she also owns big cast iron pots.

“This is Barnwell County’s best kept secret,” she said of the park.

The family has been coming to the park every Thanksgiving for more than 22 years. Family members come from all over the state. They rent all five cabins and some also stay in the campsites.

“This is the holiday for us,” she said.

Sid Long is originally from Barnwell and graduated from Barnwell High School in 1973. He is the son of Avis and the late Fred Long.

“It’s a beautiful park,” said Sid, who remembers swimming in the lake as a teen. “It’s nice to see it’s still going on.”

The Longs are hoping to do something to help the park while honoring Sid’s parents, who started the annual tradition of having Thanksgiving at the park.