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Mike Sullivan, from Connecticut, has participated in timber sports for 28 years. Sullivan has more than 26 world titles and more than 100 overall titles to his name. Look for him at this year's Legends and Logging Days events Aug. 12-13. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Chainsaw artists, competitive loggers to compete at annual event

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Chainsaw artists, competitive loggers to compete at annual event
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Celebrate the history of Park Rapids at this year's Legends and Logging Days events.

The annual event will be bigger and better, with additional events, live music and a larger venue.


Park Rapids calls itself the "Loon Capital of the USA" and annually hosts the Legends and Logging Days. This year's event will be held Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13, 2011 at the East 40, Park Rapids Antique Tractor & Engine Club grounds. The event used to be held at Red Bridge Park but this new location will provide more room for activities and ample free parking.

"The theme has expanded," said Katie Magozzi, Park Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. "It has the original logging and carving events but additional children's activities, music, food."

The Antique Tractor & Engine Club Grounds has several historic buildings and a working sawmill. Visitors will feel like they have stepped back in time when strolling the 40-acre property.

Skilled chainsaw artists sculpt masterpieces before your eyes and fiercely competitive loggers thrill audiences. Loon calling contestants compete for the best calls in their age category. The two-day event also offers a chili and wing contest, sponsored by Hospice with a $1,000 purse, food and beverages, and family activities for visitors of all ages.

"It's a place to get back to the basics, away from technology," Magozzi said.

New this year, Kinship of Park Rapids is sponsoring CLIMB Theater performances. Each play is about 15 minutes long and will be performed six to nine times a day, outside on the festival grounds. The beginning of each play will feature loud and entertaining antics in order to gather crowds around and watch these plays. When the actors are not performing they will visit with the townspeople to discuss theatre and their lives as actors.

The three topics selected from the community dialogue are: conflict, alcohol abuse and manners.

Kinship will also have a booth set up where people can purchase clubhouse raffle tickets.

A variety of live music from folk to bluegrass to gospel will be performed both days as well. The musical lineup for Friday includes The Hollands, performing gypsy, celtic and folk from noon to 1:30 p.m.; Tom Feldman, performing blues and gospel from 2 to 3:30 p.m.; and Brady Perl and the Band, performing folk, blues and grass from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday's lineup includes Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, performing Americana roots from noon to 1:30 p.m.; Two Many Banjos, performing gypsy folk ballads from 2 to 3:30 p.m.; and Charlie Parr, performing Piedmont style slide resonator blues from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, from 7 to 11 a.m., the Antique Tractor & Engine Club will serve a logger's breakfast. A $5 button, purchased at the gate, will allow entrance to the event both days.

This was Park Rapids' signature event for more than 30 years and was established to honor the rich heritage of logging in this neck of the woods. Legends and Logging Days brings world champion and world record-breaking lumberjacks and lumberjills, competing in wood chopping and sawing contests.

Master chainsaw sculptors create north woods masterpieces all day Friday and Saturday. Judges do "quick carves" to demonstrate their skills while master carvers work, chips flying and masterpieces emerging from raw pieces of wood. Once the sculptures have been completed, they are auctioned off to the highest bidder in a high energy, entertaining auction that all attendees are welcome to participate in.

Downtown Park Rapids will host a variety of events that will tie in to the historic and artistic aspect of the festival. The main street of Park Rapids was made extra wide so teamsters could turn their long outfits (of four- or six-horse teams) around wherever they needed to. (Even though the city council contemplated building sidewalks to replace boardwalks on Main street in 1891, the hitching posts weren't removed from Main Street until 1913.) Today it accommodates middle of the street parking, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike.

Water Wars on Main will once again be part of the festivities during the event. The event, held at 6 p.m. Thursday on Main, is free to watch. Come support the local teams who compete for bragging rights year after year. Spend the evening downtown shopping and enjoying an ice cream cone or refreshments at one of many establishments along Main.

The Antique Tractor & Engine Club grounds are located on County Road 6, one-half mile south of state Highway 34 on the east side of Park Rapids.

See more details about Legends and Logging Days events, including bios of the carvers and loggers, in a special section inserted in Wednesday's Enterprise.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561