Written by Beth Exley
The 2019 Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous celebrates its 20th year on April 25 – 28, 2019. The Rendezvous has grown from a small ‘friends and family’ gathering to become an event that has gained worldwide acclaim. Twenty years ago, brothers Rick and Randy Boni had an idea. With the help of their wives, the brothers decided to gather a few friends and family members with the intention of carving designs and figures into wood with chainsaws. The event was small and simple but set the stage for what is today’s annual event.
This year, carvers will be trekking to Ridgway from all over the world. At present, 65 carvers are slated to join in the rendezvous. And back for 2019 is live carving. That’s right, each carver will start with an 8-foot log to chop-away at and shape into a finished piece. If you like what you see, make the carver an offer to take it home with you. Carvers sell directly to the public at their booth. Payment methods vary from carver to carver, so be sure to ask. Bring a vehicle to take your selections home. Carvers will be competing for awards in three categories: People’s Choice, Social Media Choice, and Carver’s Choice.
When asked what is new or different for this year, event coordinator, Liz Boni stated, “The venue has changed back to the former Motion Control Building on Gillis Avenue. There will be maps available on the website to guide people.”
In addition to the location change, Boni stated, “We are going to have music both indoors and outdoors. The musicians will all have roots that trace back to the Ridgway area.” Boni thinks that the area has an “untapped Appalachia” vibe. In addition to the carvers and the music, the event also hosts several food and craft vendors in addition to wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
Rob Simbeck sums it up, “Chainsaw carving is the revved-up, sawdust-spitting segment of the art world, a place where the scent of pine and motor oil are as vital as the sculptor’s hands and eyes in creating gorgeous works of art.”