Franklin Countys First News

Rangeley’s Logging Festival greatly expanded this year

Joel Burdin, at left, and Rodney Richard Jr. show their form in the crosscut event during the Woodsmen's Competition at the 2010 Logging Festival.

RANGELEY – The 31st Annual Rangeley Logging Festival and Parade will be held July 29 and 30. This two-day event, sponsored by the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, has greatly expanded its offerings for this year.

The festivities get started on Friday with two traditional events; the Mr. & Mrs. Wood Chip talent contest for 6 to 8-year-olds and the formal announcement of the Hall of Fame Logger inductees for 2011. This year’s inductees are William ‘Bunk” Spiller and Elijah White Jr. Also the Museum-sponsored Logging & Woods Art contest for regional school age students will be judged on Friday afternoon with the winner taking home a $100 cash prize. All the entries will be on display later on Saturday at the museum, which will be open to the public free of charge for the Festival.

Also on Friday from 4 to 6pm will be the traditional burying of the beans and tasting of the open-fired reflector oven biscuits prepared as was done during the early days in the logging camps throughout the Western Mountains. This event, held at the Museum’s grounds, is free and is quite interesting and educational. Yes, recipes will be shared.

Of special interest this year will be the appearance of Mason Strunk. This talented, local 12-year-old has impressed many as a storyteller, singer, and guitar player. He received quite a reception at last year’s Saddleback Bluegrass Festival and has quite a following. He will be featured for the Friday night entertainment at 7pm at the Episcopal Church on Main Street. Along with Mason there will be Al Scheeren who will provide guitar accompaniment. The entire Friday evening’s program, which includes Mason, has a gate fee of just $3 that goes to support the Museum.

Saturday is the day for the parade and this year it has been greatly expanded. The Governor of Maine including the first family will be attended along with other dignitaries from federal, state, and local offices. There will airplanes, antique cars, trucks, and everything imaginable including The Lombard Log Hauler, the world’s first steam-powered steel tracked machine and Muscle #3, the forerunner of today’s log haulers commonly referred to as ‘Skidders”. This is one of five ever built and will be driven in the parade by the inventor’s son along with the inventor’s grandson who has restored this remarkable machine. Also in attendance will be many logging trucks driven by area operators and this year Irving Forest Products of Rumford will participate in the parade. Irving is the second largest producer of pine products in the world with mills both in the U.S. and Canada. The parade will be judged by four categories starting with the Logging Industry, 2011 theme “The Seasons”, Artistic Merit, and finally Youth. Each winner will be awarded a cash prize. There will also be a fifth category for non-prize money entries. This category includes…well, just about anything you can think of! So, if you are interested in participating in the parade, please call Linda Sikes, the parade coordinator at 491-6566.

The Festival begins at the conclusion of the parade and will be on the Museum’s grounds at 221 Stratton Road (Route 16). Entry for all the events for non-members is $3 but remember the museum itself will be free that day. Parking is limited along Stratton Road but this year there will be a shuttle bus running from the Rangeley Town parking lot (there will be signs) out to the Festival grounds.

There will be free barrel train rides, games, and activities for children. The Annual Woodsmen’s Competition begins at 12:30, the Rob Roy four-piece folk music group will play during the lunch hour and into the afternoon, and a larger craft show featuring local artisans and vendors continues throughout the day. At the festival there will be bean dinners, hot dogs, biscuits and assorted drinks, cookies and other treats. The cost is $8 for adults and for under 8 years old $5.

Also on hand will be a complete display of Stihl chain saws. Stihl, along with local dealer Boss Power Equipment, are the 2011 sponsors for the Woodsmen’s contest. Anyone can participate by calling Butch Richard at 207-688-2249. There will be prize money for every event with the overall winner receiving a Stihl 16” chain saw model MS 290.

Wood harvesting equipment will be on display and will be demonstrated along with Muscle #3. The Department of Homeland Security Border Patrol will have its helicopter there for viewing. Also there will more special cars, motorcycles and big rig trucks just a short walk across the street along the access road to the Border Patrol headquarters.

For more information please contact Linda Sikes at 491-6566 for parade information or Ron Haines at 864-3939 for all other inquiries about the Festival.

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