By Adam McCully

Since its inception, the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous has grown by leaps and bounds. This year will mark the 19th anniversary of Ridgway’s beloved event, with hopefully bigger numbers and better carvings than anyone’s seen before.

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Ridgway residents and brothers, Rick and Randy Boni are credited with the idea for the Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. They held the very first event, and when Randy moved away from the area, Rick and his wife Liz kept the tradition alive. Since then, it’s grown into the world’s largest event of its kind. The best chainsaw carvers in the world make their  way to Ridgway so they can share their know-how, demonstrate their skills, sell their wares, and challenge their abilities as they see the amazing creations of other carvers. At last year’s event, nearly 200 artisans took place in the event, including some from Canada, England, Germany, Slovakia, Egypt, and the Czech Republic.

For visitors, the Rendezvous is a great way to shake off the winter blues and do something fun. It also provides a rare glimpse at the artistic process in real time. Witnessing the process of chainsaw carving from start to finish is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The carvers will start setting up on Saturday, March 11th. As they begin carving, creative energy and sawdust fill the air. You can watch the artists transform plain logs into beautiful, life size wildlife sculptures, beautifully carved indoor and outdoor furniture pieces, home décor, and anything else that enters their imagination. Sometime the carvers surprise themselves!

Feel free to ask the artists questions about their work. Most of them are not only thrilled to talk about their carvings, but pretty entertaining with a real flare for showmanship. There will also be several chainsaw carving seminars and how-to demonstrations offered throughout the week.

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If any carving catches your fancy, you can buy works directly from the artists themselves. You can also attend a big auction of works on Saturday, March 18th.

The historic town of Ridgway comes alive during the Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. All of the charming shops and restaurants you’ll find there will be open to welcome you with bargains and special deals. There will also be a ton of craft vendor booths set up around town all week selling one-of-a-kind items to help commemorate your trip.

If you’d like to extend your visit to Ridgway, there are hotels and quality bed & breakfasts in town and in nearby St. Marys, Weedville, and Benezette.

The 2016 Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous will take place March 11th – 18th. Get all the details at ChainsawRendezvous.org or by calling (814) 772-0400. Additional lodging and dining information is available at VisitPAGO.com or call (814) 849-5197.

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