Categorized | Entertainment, Event

Lumberjack Festival takes Milton back to its roots

Timber! Pensacola State College’s Milton campus will be hosting the 25th annual Forestry Conclave and Lumberjack Festival on Saturday, March 2.

Complete with Bluegrass music and hearty food, the festival will feature forestry competitions, exhibits and education suitable for all age groups from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We have a lot of fun activities that center on forestry and forestry education,” said Steve Brown, who competes at the event and was the festival coordinator for 10 years. “It’s recognition and education of an industry that really helped build this community.”

Entertainment for children 12 and younger include face painting, crafts and a softball toss from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Events for teenagers 13 to 15 years old include knife throwing and cross-cut sawing from 11 a.m. to noon. Axe throwing, pole felling and the lumberjack competition will be available for teens and adults 16 and older from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The big focus is the lumberjack competition,” Brown said.

The competition  includes compass and pacing, cross-cut sawing and a log roll.

The forestry competitions started years ago as entertainment to lumberjacks in temporary logging camps. To pass the time, they would compete amicably between one another to see who was the best.

“Who can saw logs the fastest?” Brown said. “Who can, with precision, throw an axe 20 yards and hit a target? Who can use an axe to cut through a log the fastest?”

Pay no attention to the brawny builds, flannel shirts and burly beards because everyone is encouraged to participate.

“This is for anybody who wants to come out and give it a try,” Brown said.

Registration for all events begins at 7:45 a.m. prior to the festival’s start. Participants will be limited on a first come, first serve basis.

Although admission is free, it’s $3 to participate in an event. Each additional event is $1. Registration is free for children, senior citizens and high school students.

Chainsaw artist, Andy Cummings, is prominent among exhibitors at the Forestry Conclave and Lumberjack Festival.

“He will turn a log of Atlantic white cedar into a piece of art,” Brown said.

Each year Cummings donates a piece of art for a raffle. All of the raffle’s proceeds will go to the PSC Relay for Life in April.

In addition to the raffle, the food booth is a dominant fundraiser. Those proceeds will also go to the school’s Relay For Life.

While the Forestry Conclave and Lumberjack Festival is packed with engaging events, it’s also a tool to present the environmental degree programs available at PSC and the University of Florida at Milton.

“It is about fun, getting to know the two colleges and educating the public,” Greg Ledet, event coordinator of exhibitors and sponsors, said in an email interview.

PSC’s Milton campus is surrounded by an abundant environment that’s complementary to the purpose of the festival.

“It’s a neat way to get knowledgeable about what resources we have, right here, in our own backyard,” Brown said. “We are blessed with awesome natural resources.”

For additional event information call 850-484-4463, or visit lumberjack.pensacolastate.edu.

Elizabeth Egstad
Staff Writer

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