A first-of-its-kind event is underway in central Iowa’s Poweshiek County this week — chainsaw carving to raise money for American soldiers injured in the War on Terror. Jerilyn Renaud of Grinnell is organizing the event featuring 15 chainsaw carvers from nine states and Canada.
Renaud says being a female chainsaw carver is something of an oddity. Renaud says “There definitely is the lion’s share of big, burly guys that do chainsaw carving. I’ve been doing this ten years and some of those bigger logs, I let the guys have and I don’t mind taking the smaller ones. Even those big burly guys, when it comes to the fine detail, it’s just amazing what they can do with the tip of a chainsaw.” She says her children came up with the idea for this event a few years ago after watching TV coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Renaud says chainsaw carving is a special type of therapy for her. Renaud got started after her husband was killed in a tractor accident. “I had a 15-month-old, a three-year-old and his 98-year-old grandmother that lived with us and I lived in the middle of 500-acres of timber, but the first time I saw (chainsaw carving), something clicked and I knew that I was destined to do this.”
The carvers will be creating all sorts of wooden sculptures to sell, while other attractions range from speed carving, live music, amusement rides, auctions, a petting zoo and a rodeo. Renaud says she carves all sorts of unusual creations out of logs.
“My favorite is probably anything that I’ve never done before. When I come up with a creative idea that nobody’s ever done before. My other favorite would be when I can take something out of scrap wood and make something beautiful out of it. If somebody was just going to burn it and I can make art out of it, that just fulfills me.”
Carvings will be auctioned to benefit the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides assistance to severely wounded and disabled U.S. servicemen and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The event is underway at the Poweshiek County Fairgrounds in Grinnell today (Thursday) through Saturday. More information on the Chainsaw Carvings for America’s Heroes Festival is available at “www.iowa.com”.
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Info on chainsaw festival