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Chainsaw carvers to descend once again on Hackensack

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BY KATE PERKINS

Staff Writer

The chips will fly Friday to Sunday, Sept. 28-30 in Hackensack at the Fall Has it All Chainsaw Event. In all, 12 carvers will come from Michigan, Iowa and across Minnesota to carve in front of live audiences.

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And, once the sculptures are finished, they’ll be live auctioned to the crowd.

Among those carvers is local artist Chris Kuehn, owner of Detour North in Hackensack.

Kuehn says he’s been an artist all his life, and began chainsaw carving about five years ago. He got started after a piece caught his eye off Highway 371 in Walker.

That sculpture was created by Ross Olson, an artist that Kuehn later worked with for many years before beginning to carve on his own.

Kuehn’s the creator of everything in his store – including chainsaw sculptures and furniture with chainsaw sculpture incorporated into the design.

Kuehn said that the Hackensack Chainsaw Event was a hit from the start. He called the auction “electric” and described the whole event as “monstrous” in its size and the number of people it drew into town.

Kuehn considers his painting to be one of his strong points, and paints all his sculptures. He said color is not something often added to chainsaw sculptures, so it sets him apart.

Chainsaw sculpting is performed with special chainsaws, which have shorter blades for finer work and easy maneuvering.

The event has changed since its first year. Divisions in opinion led to a rift between organizers, and for a few years two chainsaw events took place on the same weekend in separate parts of town.

Now it’s back to just one event the weekend of Sept. 28-30.

Chamber coordinator Jean Dawson said this year the event will feature carvers creating many smaller-sized pieces. In the past sculptors created masterpieces that auctioned for high prices. Because of the economy, the event made a switch to smaller, more affordable sculptures.

The weekend will also feature the American Lumberjack Show. This travelling lumberjack show features axe throwing and log rolling, among other performances.

Carving will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, carving will be from 9 a.m. to noon, with the auction following at 1 p.m.

The American Lumberjack Show will be at 3 p.m. on Friday; three shows on Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; and at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Cost is $5 for the entire weekend’s events. Children under 12 are free.

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