By KIM LOCCISANO
Times Leader Staff Writer
When the doors of Oglebay Park and Resort's Pine Room at the Crispin Center open Labor Day weekend it will signal the start of the 31st Annual Oglebay Woodcarvers Show and Sale which will be held from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4.
Bill Hicks of Martins Ferry works on his barkwood spirit carving. The Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild will hold its annual carving show Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3-4 in the Pine Room. Hours both days are 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and admission is free.
Not only is the annual effort a very family friendly activity, but it also offers visitors the convenience of free parking, free admission, and access to a wide variety of free entertainment options throughout the two-day event. It also signals the official start of the annual holiday gift shopping season for many. Light refreshments are also available for purchase at the site.
Various fund-raising opportunities are also offered to the public over the course of the two-day event. Proceeds help the Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild continue its tradition of donating funds to charitable organizations in the local area.
Items offered for sale at the annual fund-raiser traditionally can range widely in price, in finished size and in complexity of design.
The Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild members work year-round to prepare for this annual show and sale.
It is a great opportunity for even the youngest shopper to find they have enough personal buying power to make memorable purchases of handcrafted works of art of a quality sure to please a favorite babysitter, teacher or grandparent.
Weather permitting, various carving-related demonstrations will be held on the adjacent lawn. These areas will offer seating and shade as they will be held under tents.
These free demonstrations long ago became a favorite component of the show and sale agenda among both carvers and event guests.
The popular event features many returning carvers who hail from such areas as New York, Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
Most items on display will be offered for sale during the event, which offers a 50 table layout.
Demonstrations by chainsaw artist Jeff Roscoe of Flushing are favorites as he offers guests the unique opportunity to literally witness the birth of a one of a kind work of art.
"He will be skillfully transforming tree logs into striking animals, birds or caricatures," offered Bellaire resident and Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild member Joe Hodorowski. "You will see how tree logs are transformed."
Roscoe's newly created works will then be made available for sale.
Among the many professional carvers taking part in the annual show and sale will be returning participants Ray and Phyllis Thurston, of Mentor, Ohio, Karl Ohly of Sandusky, and William Baker of Pennsylvania.
The Thurstons favor working with driftwood pieces to use for aquatic and animal carvings. Ohly is well known for his large portrait type relief work. Santa images are a favorite subject for Baker.
"New carvers attending this year include Jim Bianchi from Pittsburgh; the duo of Chuck and Malinda Hankey, who specialize in small chain saw carvings," offered Hodorowski. "Popular carvers Ken Kohl of Alden, New York and Dayton; and Kentucky resident John Broughton, who will be joining the show for the first time."
True to its name at the core of this show and sale are the creations by guild members.
Local Wheeling-Weirton-Pittsburgh area carvers who will display their talents include Kelli Dague, Jim Showalter, Duke Jordan, Joe Rich, Joe Hodorowski, John Yancosek, and Sue Mozena.
"A special tribute to long-time guild member Harry Sykes will be shared as his daughter Miranda is making a table of his individual works that will be available at the show. This will give patrons the chance to purchase a piece by this well known local carver. Sykes passed away last May 20," said Hodorowski.
Numerous carving vendors will be selling wood, wood products, knives, gouges and other tools. Lukens Wood from Knightstown, Ind., sells various species of carving wood such as basswood, walnut, and poplar, plus other species both local and from distant areas.
Well known carving knife designer and builder John Dunkle of Archbold, Ohio, will display, demonstrate, and sell his specialized knife selection.
Richard Traczyk, of Little Mountain Supply of Front Royal, Va., will be offering an inventory which includes a large variety of high quality carving supplies including power tools.
Vendor Ed Allen's "Boxes and Such" display will offer for sale a selection of pre-made boxes and bird houses suitable for chip carving or finishing.
"The entire show is open to the public with no admission charges. Raffle tickets will be sold with some fabulous prizes to six lucky winners. Prizes include a week's free lodging at an Oglebay Park deluxe cabin and five gift cards worth $100 or $50 each, all redeemable for Oglebay Park goods or services all courtesy of Oglebay, with the drawing taking place at the conclusion of the show on Sunday," said the Bellaire based carver.
The Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild is a not for profit organization who, after expenses, supports annually many tri-state areas soup kitchens, The Health Right Inc. and numerous public libraries with on-going subscriptions to the Chip Chats, a carving magazine in towns where club members reside.
Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild is an independent organization dedicated to the promotion of the art of woodcarving through instruction, exhibitions and demonstrations. The club meets twice weekly on Monday evening and Thursday morning for carving sessions in the Stifel Fine Arts Center on National Road.
Extra events on tap for this Labor Day weekend within the Park area will be Fort Henry Days, on Saturday at Site One, which is a colonial reenactment. Then after the carving show on Sunday evening the Wheeling Symphony will perform at the Amphitheater. Both of these events are well attended and are free.