The anvil drops July 22

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July 19, 2004 // UPDATED 2:37 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The invitation to Gardner Hardware's 120th anniversary is compelling: "A Car, an Anvil and Gravity."

A 160-pound red anvil is the star of the daytime celebration Thursday, July 22 at 515 Washington Ave. N.

The iron block will be heaved off a buttered platform atop the four-story hardware store's roof. The anvil will flatten a car below, in the parking lot between Gardner and Cuzzy's, 507 Washington Ave. N.

A local wrecking service donated the sacrificial car for the anvil assault. Nearby bike shop/coffee shop One on One Bicycle Studio, 117 Washington Ave. N., has also offered up a bike for a severe pummeling, said Kelly Nezworski, Gardner's retail manager.

The hardware store hadn't selected the honorary anvil pusher when asked earlier this month. Nezworski said the store's top customer will be asked to do the dirty work.

Besides the anvil, watermelons, eggs and "haz-mat" suits will be tossed from the roof, said store employee Patrick Healy, the great-great grandson of H.B. Gardner who first opened the store on Grant Street in 1884.

The hardware store, which supplies tools and construction materials to business contractors, including several who work in the North Loop, is among the oldest in the state. It is a major distributor of hollow metal doors and frames and tools for commercial builders.

The annual anvil drop has become a popular attraction for the store's customers and curious passersby. It started six years ago at the suggestion of a daredevil customer.

The same anvil is used each year. Until its annual moment in the limelight, it sits in a corner next to the store's loading dock, looking rather harmless. But do not be deceived. Last year, the anvil crushed a red Dodge Colt (spray-painted with the tag, "Ouch").

Besides acts of destruction, Thursday's event includes a performance by industrial percussion band Savage Aural Hotbed, food, door prizes, tool demonstrations and a sidewalk sale.

Food proceeds will benefit the MS Society.

The schedule is as follows:

-Manufacturer's representatives, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

-Live music, 1-2 p.m.

-Open house, 1-4 p.m.

-Anvil drop, 2 p.m

For more information, go to www.gardnerhardware.com