by Jenny Chissus
Please go to our FACEBOOK page to see photos as the competition progresses!
As we tolerate the August rain, and our kids begin school, we have to face the fact that summer is coming to a close. It has been a glorious Seldovia summer, with plenty of warm, beautiful sunny days, full of fishing, friends, good food and exceptional beach combing!
This summer saw plenty of new beginnings in Seldovia, from the exciting renovations and reopening of the Boardwalk Hotel, Amon’s Coffee House – a quaint coffee shop serving breakfast and lunch on the slough to the Kacheyak Trading Post – we’ve seen some new energy in town that is contagious! Both the Tidepool Bakery and Cafe as well as Seldovia Fishing Adventures is under new ownership and it is nice to see this energetic interest and excitement in serving our community and visitors.
This year, over Labor Day Weekend, we are saying goodbye to summer with a ton of style, music, activity, athleticism, art and noise! This will be the 2nd year that we have hosted the Seldovia Craft Invitational Chainsaw Carving Competition at the end of summer!
A little History: We began this thrilling competition in 2006, with the guidance of two local carvers, Toby and Elaine Craft. The Crafts had competed in chainsaw carving competitions in other states and believed that bringing this type of competition would be a real asset to our community! Thus, the Seldovia Craft Invitational Chainsaw Carving Competition was born!
This will be our 9th year hosting the competition in Seldovia, (the first 7 years it was held on Memorial Day weekend) and we are so excited to announce our theme this year is “Great Alaska!” Also, this year, in addition to top Alaskan carvers: Ben Firth of Anchor Point, Derrick Stanton of Kenai and Rob Younkins of Anchorage – we have two carvers coming up from Washington and Oregon to compete in Seldovia! Chris Foltz from North Bend, Oregon and Jeff Samudosky from Gig Harbor, Washington have both competed internationally and have placed first in many events from the US, Canada and Germany! We are very excited to be opening this competition to master carvers outside of Alaska!
Our event has always been a very intimate group, carvers who enjoy the time they spend in the art of carving, as well as the time together socially. Sponsored by the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce, we are thankful to garner so much support from the community as a whole! The Chainsaw Committee raises all the support from the local businesses and individuals. We bring the carvers over from Homer, lodge and feed them for the weekend as they create these beautiful masterpieces that will stay in our community for locals and visitors to enjoy!
This year we have moved the competition site to the brand new Gateway Pavilion at the small boat harbor! We are going to enjoy the glorious views, and being centrally located in the heart of town will make it easy for folks to stop by and enjoy the festivities!
The masterpiece carving logs are from local spruce, with a minimum diameter of 26″, and all are at least 7 feet tall. The carvers arrive on Thursday the 28th of August, and begin prepping their logs that evening, with the debarking and setting up of scaffolding. Carving will begin at 8am on Friday the 29th, and will continue through Sunday at 1:00pm. Obviously, there will be breaks for lunch, and dinner – snacks and great conversation!
It is an amazing transformation from a log to a masterpiece! My favorite day is Friday when the log has its greatest transformation, as the chainsaw cuts away to reveal to the crowd, the brilliant imagination of the carver! Saturday is incredible as the detailed work begins to evolve out of the rough design. Sunday brings the work to completion with the fine details, textures all revealed and the final coating is put on the carving in preparation for judging. We will also have quick carves during the competition time, and that is a great time to stop by and see high-speed creativity!
Sunday at 1:00pm the carvers have to put down their tools and the judges enter the competition site. Our guest judges this year will be the names sakes of our competition, Toby and Elaine Craft – who have traveled to Seldovia from the lower 48 to be here to experience the competition again. We will also have the Chief Mate of the Tustumena, John Mayer as a guest judge for the competition.
The finale of the weekend is the Community Potluck on Sunday at 1;00pm. Everyone is invited! We will be cooking up burgers and hotdogs and counting on the community for the salads, desserts, chips, dips, etc! While the judges are judging the masterpiece carvings, there will be a community gathering to celebrate the end of the competition and participate in a silent auction of items donated to raise funds for the event, and the final culmination of the event will be the awards ceremony at 3:00pm.
In addition to all the travel arrangements, lodging, food and other necessities required to make the event come together, we are still raising funds to bring the carvers up from the lower 48 this year, which substantially added to our budget!
We are so thankful for the very generous support of this event by the following individuals and businesses!
The list is growing – can we add your name?
Alaska Marine Highway System
Linwood Bar and Grill
Seldovia Native Association Inc.
Seldovia Village Tribe
Spenard Builders Supply
Bear Creek Winery
Mike & Nicola Holman
Homer Electric Association
Indian Valley Meats
Kachemak Gear Shed
Dick & Sammie Reason
Smokey Bay Air
Tobben & Tania Spurkland
Thyme on the Boardwalk
Chainsaw Carving Committee/Help
Sonny & Jenny Chissus
Chris & Liane Crosta
Byron & Margie McCord
If you would like to be a sponsor of this amazing event – please contact any one of our Chainsaw Committee members: Chris and Liane Crosta, Sonny and Jenny Chissus, Byron and Margie McCord or Suzie Stranik. We are still looking for Silent Auction items and financial support! We will see you at the site all weekend – and please come and bring a dish to our Community Potluck on Sunday at 1:00pm and stay for the Awards Ceremony at 3:00pm!
In addition to the Chainsaw Carving competition, we are having our 1st Annual Seldovia Mini Marathon, a 5K or 10K race (runner’s/walker’s option) on Saturday to raise money for the competition. Registration will be on Friday evening from 5:00-9:00pm at the competition site and continuing at 8:00am Saturday morning. The starting gun will go off at 10:00am on Saturday! There will be awards and lots of fun! If you don’t want to race – please show up on the course to show your support – the map of the race is below!
Also this weekend, we have the 907 band (www.907band.com) will be playing at the Linwood on Friday and Saturday evenings from 9:00-11:00pm!
Another HUGE event going on this weekend is the Guitar Masters concert on Saturday night at the Susan B English school. This is a fabulous opportunity to hear amazing guitar talent up close and personal! Click here for more information on this Seldovia Arts Council event.
It is going to be a fantastic and busy weekend!
Seldovia’s Schedule for the Labor Day Weekend
Thursday, August 28, 2014
5:00pm Welcome Dinner with Carving Committee
7:00pm Log Drawing and Carvers begin prepping logs
7:15pm Site Prep – Debarking and scaffolding Set up – NO CARVING TONIGHT
9:00pm Clean up
Friday, August 29, 2014
7:30am Carver’s Meeting at the Site
8:00am Carving Time – Starting horn at 8am promptly
1:00pm Carving Time
5:00pm Quick Carve #1
5:00pm Silent Auction #1 Opens
5:00-9:00pm Registration for the Mini Marathon (5K and 10K) race at the Competition Site
7:00pm Carving Time
9:00pm Silent Auction #1 Closes
10:00pm Quit Carving & Clean up
9:00-11:00pm – 907 Band – Live Music at the Linwood
Saturday, August 30, 2014
8:00am Carving Time
8:00-10:00am – Mini Marathon FINAL Registration
10:00am – Mini Marathon (5 or 10K) – Start time!
1:00pm Quick Carve #2
1:00pm Silent Auction #2 Opens
4:00pm Saws off for 1/2 hour wedding
4:00pm Silent Auction #2 Closes
7:00pm Carving Time
10:00pm Quit Carving & Clean up
7:00pm Guitar Masters Concert - SBE
9:00-11:00pm 907 Band – Live Music at the Linwood
Sunday, August 31, 2014
8:00am Carving Time
8:00am Silent Auction #3 Opens
1:00pm Quit Carving & Clean up – Judging Begins
1:00pm Community Potluck Lunch on Site
2:00pm Silent Auction #3 Closes
3:00pm Award Ceremony