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ESCANABA – Starting today and running through Saturday, the U.P. State Fairgrounds will be hosting the 72nd annual Great Lakes Logging and Heavy Equipment Expo.
It’s the only place to see the largest display of logging equipment in the Midwest. With exhibitors drawn from all over the world including Finland and Scotland, you can see why it’s a pretty big deal.
“There aren’t too many events like this in the United States,” explains Heather Zimmer, Event Coordinator with the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association. “There are a few but none that have quite of a wide selection as we have here. This show is in its 72nd year so it has quite a story and longevity. There’s just something about it that continues to draw people year after year.”
One of those people is Escanaba native James Denkins, who has been carving logs for about 35 years. Attending the Logging Congress for the last 15 years, Denkins has made chainsaw carving into a sort of hobby for himself.
“I guess my excuse is to move it and don’t lose it,” says James Denkins, Owner of JW Custom Carvings. “I enjoy creating art, as you can see by my pieces, and it’s good exercise. You get to meet a lot of really neat people and we’ve actually been taken all over the country because of chainsaw carvings.”
Having a variety of carvings, Denkins says there really isn’t one inspiration for his artwork.
“It depends on that day,” said Denkins. “Sometimes, like the Popeye carving, I just get started on a kick of carving cartoon characters. It’s kind of a good release, you’re not copying something and there’s not one particular way to do it. You just get carried away and throw your own flare to it.”
You can check out Denkins’ and over 200 other exhibitors’ work today through Saturday.