Logging Days features fun, new activities for families
By Sarah Smith
For the Legends & Logging Festival, it was the year of the youth.
Kids stepped with gusto onto the rolling logs, tried their hands at hatchet throwing, picked up bows and arrows and got loggers’ autographs on “wood cookies” as if the men were rock stars.
Chamber director Nicole Lalum said a deliberate effort was made to involve kids in the weekend festival, to ensure its future and get young minds focused on the outdoors.
“That’s why kids 12 and under are free,” she said. Lots of kids activities were available.
From the opening salvo in Water Wars to the closing bids of wood products, kids were front and center in Legends & Logging.
When their favorite band, Incredibly Real, took to the stage, the screams of approval rivaled those for the Beatles in the 60s. Well, maybe not quite so loud.
Kids greeted each new challenge with the wide-eyes innocence of youth.
Log rolling without spiked shoes? No problem.
Heaving a hatchet into a circular target? Even a 4-year-old boy stepped up, adjusted his glasses and threw.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, attended the festivities at the Antique Tractor grounds.
Saturday, ticket takers somehow stopped recording traffic at vehicle ticket #271, but that was just a guess. Volunteers got too busy after that to keep an accurate record.
Lalum estimates the weekend crowd at roughly 2,500, “the same as last year.”
The Antique Tractor Grounds are scattered far and wide, so crowds don’t tend to build up. But on a beautiful weekend, cars piped up outside the gates, indicating a large crowd.
Carver Joe Wavra of Red Lake Falls was toiling over a thunderbird feather Friday, tooling each groove of the feather.
Bill Dahl of Park Rapids was playing his nickelharpa to rave reviews and lots of questions as to how the intricately crafted violin-like instrument was made.
Loggers Dylan Zdroik of Wisconsin and Nate Greenberg of Stillwater conducted numerous epic battles, log rolling, competitive sawing with their expansion boosters to get speeds up to 150 mph and hatchet throwing.
Gone were the lumberjacks and jills that have appeared before. But Greenberg and Zdroik quickly became crowd favorites and kids lined up to seek their autographs.
Celebrity carver Matt Clementson, of County Music TV’s “Chainsaw Gang,” seemed “a bit out of his element,” said a high school classmate of the Park Rapids 1983 grad, who came back to gamely carve with the pack.
His black panther head, he laughed, was an ode carved to his roots. It was one of the numerous items auctioned off, selling for $45, Lalum said.
The total tally for the auction will be conducted Tuesday after the Enterprise goes to press.
All the carvers stayed to help kids saw logs and provide their expertise with patience.
The winners for the Smokey Hills Ye ‘Olde Archery Challenge are as follows: Modern Class - Barry Arnold, Traditional Class - Zach Brandt, and Youth Class - Morgan Hoefs.
The Max Bailey Tomahawk Challenge, Legendary Tomahawk winner was Bruce Tusberg, Hanley Falls, second place prize winner is Jim Cagle, of Grand Rapids. They won a handmade ash youth bow, donated by Nick Sevart of Bismarck N.D., the Blanket Trader. There was a three way tie for second, broken by the draw of the cards, third place winners Jim Cagle, Grand Rapids, Burton Hillukke, Menahga, and Jason Bultena, Lenon, S.D.
Each contestant made three throws to an array of 14 cards. The tomahawk had to stick into the block to count. A hit to the block was one point, a hit on a playing card was two points, and if you cut a corner off of the card it was three points. Top score was a 9, and the tie for second was 8 points.
The event was the epitome of a family friendly event, with kids begging the adults to stay longer.