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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Let the sawdust fly — Chainsaw Rendezvous takes over Ridgway

 By Bob Batz Jr. / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A small town deep in the woods of Pennsylvania is being taken over by 200 chainsaw-wielding fanatics.

That sounds like a horror movie, but it’s an accurate description of what’s happening right now in Ridgway, on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, about a 2½-hour drive northeast of Pittsburgh.

Through next weekend, for the 17th year, this seat of Elk County hosts the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, the largest gathering of chainsaw artists in the world. They’re coming from as far away as Australia and several other countries — Canada, the Czech Republic, Egypt (if a visa comes through), Germany, Honduras, Paraguay, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

All this week, they’ll be revving their chainsaws along the town’s Main and other streets, transforming several tri-axle truckloads of local white pine into statues of every imaginable animal and more.

Especially as next weekend nears, the town’s population of just more than 3,000 will swell up to 10 times that much, as chainsaw art aficionados and spectators from all over arrive to watch the sawdust fly. Starting at noon next Saturday, they’ll bid on the artists’ creations in a daylong auction. Artworks can be had for much less than they are worth for those willing to brave the weather, as the auction is held outdoors, too. Read more....

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