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Mad about plaid

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 11/6/19

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to admit that I know absolutely nothing about logging, lumberjacks, axe-throwing nor sawing things in general, save for the occasional home repair. That …

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Mad about plaid

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In the interest of full disclosure, I need to admit that I know absolutely nothing about logging, lumberjacks, axe-throwing nor sawing things in general, save for the occasional home repair. That said, I’m always game to try something new and participate in community-wide events that bring people together. Learning something in the process is always a bonus, and there was plenty of that to be had at last Saturday’s Narrowsburg Logging Days event at the Fireman’s Field.

“Join us in celebrating our heritage,” I read online. “Enjoy our food and vendor market, live music, children’s activities, demonstrations, a pie baking contest and more!” While that somewhat generic description may fit more than one autumnal celebration held annually in the Upper Delaware River region, this was no ordinary event. Digging deeper revealed a rich vein of activities unfamiliar to me, all centered on the New York State Lumberjack Association (NYSLA) and what they bring to the table. Oh, and dressing for the occasion, which apparently was “a thing.” Unaware that there was a social media campaign suggesting that attendees wear clothing associated with lumberjacks, I just thought I was being clever when pulling out a red-and-black buffalo-plaid shirt for me and matching pajamas (don’t judge!) for the dog. Everyone I saw eagerly acknowledged that the event was the brainchild of Narrowsburg’s Jane Luchsinger, who was sidelined by broken bones, but bolstered by an army of folks who stepped up and made it happen, proving once again that “it takes a village,” or hamlet, if you prefer.

Imagine my surprise then, when I saw hundreds of adults, children and yes, even dogs, all clad in plaid, roaming the field under an impossibly blue sky as the intense and fast-paced competitions got underway. A quick glance at the NYSLA website explained a lot of what was about to transpire. “In recent years attention has been given to making our shows enjoyable for our spectators and attracting new members,” the website informed. “The original six events are still found at most competitions, but fans can now watch springboard, single-buck, felling, standing block chop and a variety of chainsaw classes from stock to hotsaws.” In addition, women’s events with separate prize money are found at all NYSLA shows. Juniors’ events are offered when there is demand, and handicapped chopping has been introduced to allow for a wide range of skill levels.

“Wow,” I said to anyone who would listen, as we observed the wildly fast competitions playing out before us with fantastic “color commentary” from host Peg Engasser, who knows of what she speaks, having competed for more than 30 years herself. A variety of “heats” were all meticulously timed, and while I was busy photographing families out to “channel the flannel,” Peg informed the fans about the rules, regulations and intricate nuances that combine to make “springboard chop,” (nine feet up in the air, no less) “cross cut,” and a variety of awe-inspiring wood-cutting events downright (IMHO) mesmerizing.

I took a boatload of photos, and am including a smattering here. To view the rest, like us on Facebook and tag your plaid-clad, flannel-covered pals. Kudos to Luschinger and company. I’ll be back next year. We all will.

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