BERKSHIRE--The 35th anniversary World Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship comes to the new Wild Adventures Theme Park on Water Tower Road starting on Saturday and runs through Monday.
      Watch as chainsaw artists from around the world turn simple logs into stunning works of art. Judging of sculptures to announce the World Open Champions takes place on Monday at 1 p.m. Don't miss Grammy-nominated Beau Vine and the Buckamoos from the rolling hills of Franklin performing live before the ceremony.
      The principle Sculpture Auction will take place at 3 p.m.
      Wood carving is one of the oldest arts. Wooden spears from the Middle Paleolithic show that humans began utilitarian woodwork millennia ago and decorative carving about a minute later. "The beginnings of the craft go so far back that, at least where timber is present, the use of wood exists as a universal in human culture as both a means to create or enhance technology and as a medium for artistry." Woodcarvings survive from ancient Egypt thanks to the dryness of the climate there. The Cairo museum exhibits the statue of a man from the period of the Great Pyramid of Giza, around 4000 B.C. The current fast-growing sculptural art began formally in the 1950s as artists Ray Murphy and Ken Kaiser brought the modern technology of the chainsaw to the ancient art of woodcarving.
      The Saturday and Sunday schedules will include competition and guest carving, live music, inflatable rides, family activities, a quick carving competition, meet and greet with guest carvers, racing pigs, a barracuda race, and a benefit auction. Guest artists include Pennsylvania's Dennis Beach, Merlin Nichols of St. Johnsbury, Riley "Two Fingers" O'Donegal from Letterkenny, Ireland, and Liam Tromans of Boularderie Island.
      Every day is Free Admission Day sponsored by the All Arts Council. Click here or here for schedules and other background materials, and more info. Funds raised will benefit a new grant program and sculpture school in Franklin County.
      The sculptures will stay on exhibit at the Wild Adventures Park through April 24, then move to Taylor Park in St. Albans for the 53rd Vermont Maple Festival.
      Yesterday was the deadline for buying tickets to the Festival and Monday is the deadline to realize it is once again April 1.

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