Mary Preisel grew up in the Allegheny National Forest, with which she credits cultivating her love of trees and the outdoors.
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Along with icy temps and a new appreciation for long johns, February also brings Ridgway, PA's annual Chainsaw Carvers Rendevous. The gathering takes place in different areas around the sleepy town and gives carvers from all over the country the chance to meet, learn new techniques, and auction their work at the end of the week long event.
We attended the very first Saturday, and what a doozie of a day it was! Lots of wind and snow, but that didn't keep us from taking the trip to check out some really great work. All over town tents were set up and there were some goings-on in some of the shops as well. Most carvings were of animals, and even an 11 foot bear that had to have weighed at least half a ton! There were some interesting carved benches and intricate pieces that I wish I would've taken some pictures of (Sorry, folks!)!! And, of course, a few essential carnival food stands (Funnel cake in a February snowstorm? Yes, please!) Some of the carving stations were in plazas so a duck into Dan Smith's Candies and Country Squirrel Outfitters helped break the cold and satisfy the sweet tooth.
I wish we would've made it back for another look-see, as I'm sure it would've been more enjoyable without the harsh wind and snow, but we weren't able to make the trip back--which is also an amazing drive in itself. Will have to wait until next year, which we are really looking forward to.
Chainsaw carving is a pretty amazing art and since the Rendevous, Ryan's been trying his hand at it--so far no pics he'll let me post (artist's ego I suppose ;) ), but it is a lot of fun. Here's a link to our favorite carver (Matthew Crabb)'s website www.exmoorchainsawcarving.co.uk/ Matthew does some really neat pieces like dragon thrones and carvings for playgrounds. Check him out, and if you've got some ideas for Ryan's carvings, let us hear about them!