Coal smoke rolled over the encampment as deer hides stiffened in the sun.
"Just that little bit of sulfur makes it aromatic," said blacksmith Carl King.
The smoke from King's open coal forge had darkened his Ben Franklin spectacles, singed his graying beard.
"I smell like coal smoke constantly," he said, adding that his wife will ask him to change out of his period costume as soon as he gets home.
King worked Constitution Square Festival in downtown Danville as a period blacksmith, circa 1750, on Saturday, which surprised weather forecasters and turned out to be a beautiful day. The crowd watched at a cautious distance as he hammered sparking orange steel into flint strikers.
"None of the young people understand that smell, but the grandmas and grandpas remember that smell of coal smoke," King said. "They think about when they were little kids, when they were turning that handle of the forge for their grandpa."