As with any long-running celebration, Chingawassa Days in Marion has found quite a few crowd-favorite events over its many years. One event that has consistently garnered attention has been a demonstration of using a chain saw to carve wooden sculptures and an auction selling several such sculptures.
The event has been part of Chingawassa Days for many years, but in 2011 organizers were able to give it a local connection, bringing in Rick Sardou of Marion County Lake to give the demonstration and provide sculptures to auction.
Sardou, of R&L Creative Carvings, said he initially resisted presenting at Chingawassa Days because he likes to take more time on a sculpture than a single day allows. Sculptors who carve as a show often finish items in as little as 45 minutes, he said.
“I am really not a demo carver,” he said Monday. “I’m not that quick. It’s not just that I like doing them; I like them as art, so I want them to last.”
Making a sculpture last requires taking extra steps after completing the sculpture to keep the wood from warping and cracking as it dries. Sardou prefers to put a finishing coat on as soon as a sculpture is complete.
His meticulous attention to detail further increases the time it takes Sardou to create a sculpture, his wife, Linda, interjected.
Sardou is creating 12 sculptures to be auctioned before the headline concert June 2. One of his notable projects is a bear wearing overalls and a baseball cap that will have a marshmallow roasting stick, in recognition of the world record attempt marshmallow roast earlier this year at the county lake.
Three of his Chingawassa Days pieces have been completed, and another one is almost ready. The sculpture he carves during Chingawassa Days will not be sold at the auction, because Sardou wants to give it the same finishing work he puts into all of his projects.
Chingawassa Days is supplying Sardou with the logs for the artwork, but the need to season wood before carving makes it a little more complex than that. Sardou allows his logs to dry for a full year before carving them, so the art sold this year will be made from last year’s logs. And this year’s logs will be made into 2013’s art.
Other returning classics at Chingawassa Days 2012 include a Friday night barbecue followed by concerts with tribute bands, Marion’s Amazing Race, bed races, a Texas hold’em poker tournament, horseshoe pitching, a rock-paper-scissors tournament, anvil shoot, ice cream social, the Rhino Run, an arm-wrestling tournament, kids’ events, and a community church service.
Chingawassa Days 2012 is June 1 through 3 at Central Park in Marion.