Bongo Love, a wood carver from Lafayette, puts the fine touches on his sculpture Friday for the 13th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous at Loudy-Simpson Park. Winners in the carving competition will be announced at 5 p.m. today.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Bongo Love, a wood carver from Lafayette, puts the fine touches on his sculpture Friday for the 13th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous at Loudy-Simpson Park. Winners in the carving competition will be announced at 5 p.m. today.

Free concerts in Craig round out Whittle the Wood

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2012 Whittle the Wood Rendezvous

Today's Whittle the Wood schedule:

• 7:30 a.m. Registration opens for “Wake the Whittler,” a 5K walk/run and mile-long fun run to benefit Friends of Moffat County Education. The race begins at 8 a.m. Participants can pre-register at the Craig Parks and Recreation Department, 300 W. Fourth St.

• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Entrants compete in an annual carving competition; carving area is open for viewing.

• 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A free shuttle service departs for Loudy-Simpson Park every 30 minutes from the following locations:

— OP Bar & Grill, 534 E. Victory Way

— JW Snack’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Victory Way

— Mathers’ Lounge & Café, 420 Yampa Ave.

— Kmart parking lot, 1198 W. Victory Way

• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. A free arts and crafts fair takes place, featuring food vendors and a beer garden.

• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Bear River Young Life and Colorado Cruisers car and motorcycle show takes place in the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Avenue in downtown Craig.

• 1 p.m. Carvers compete in a quick-carve competition.

• 3 p.m. Fire and Rain: The James Taylor Experience performs in a free concert.

• 4 p.m. A silent auction closes for wood carvings created in the competition.

• 5 p.m. Winners in the carving competition are announced.

• 5:30 p.m. Alter Eagles: The Definitive Eagles Tribute performs in a free concert.

• 8 p.m. The Congress performs at JW Snack’s Bar & Grill. There is no cover charge, but all attendees must be at least 21. Call 826-0468.

— For more information, call 826-2029 or visit www.whittlethewoo...>

When asked about selecting the band for one of two free performances today at the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, Dave Pike’s answer was short and to the point.

“Who doesn’t like Eagles music?” the City of Craig Parks and Recreation Department director said Friday afternoon.

Alter Eagles: The Definitive Eagles Tribute will take the stage at 5:30 p.m. today at Loudy-Simpson Park, capping off a four-day marathon of wood carving.

The concert follows a 3 p.m. performance by Fire and Rain: The James Taylor Experience.

Both concerts are free.

Music has long been interwoven in the annual event, in which artisans vie for top honors in a carving competition.

The trick is to find acts that appeal to a wide range of musical tastes, Pike said.

He believes both bands slated to perform today come close to that ideal. “James Taylor and The Eagles both cross over into all genres,” and offer “a mass appeal,” Pike said.

Although Whittle the Wood began as a wood-carving competition, organizers added musical acts into the mix as the event grew, Pike said.

“I think it adds a lot to the show,” he said.

Live performances also tend to keep attendees at the park longer, which benefits vendors who ply their wares at the event, Pike said.

Craig Parks and Recreation Department staff scheduled Tropical Coyotes to perform Friday, adding a third concert to the lineup.

Whittle the Wood’s first Friday concert slightly upped the total cost, but the added expense “was well worth it,” Pike said.

Today’s musical attractions aren’t limited to the park.

The Congress performs at 8 p.m. today at JW Snack’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Victory Way.

The group is the first to perform in the restaurant’s inaugural summer concert series.

The band’s style has been described as “Americana rock,” or a mix between The Black Crowes and Widespread Panic, JW Snack’s owner Danny Griffith said.

“They’re supposed to be superb,” he said.

It’s no coincidence the band performs at the same time as Whittle the Wood.

The restaurant was always busy during the event when it was hosted at what is now known as Veterans Memorial Park, Griffith said.

“Now that it’s not even held in the city limits, we’re a little discouraged, but we’re going to try to make the best of a bad situation,” he said.

There is no cover charge to attend the performance, but all attendees must be 21 or older.

The restaurant also serves as one of several pick-up points for a free shuttle service that runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Shuttles leave for Loudy-Simpson Park every 30 minutes.

Other points of departure include OP Bar & Grill, 534 E. Victory Way; Mathers’ Lounge & Café, 420 Yampa Ave.; and the Kmart parking lot, 1198 W. Victory Way. For more information about the performance at JW Snacks, call 826-0468.

For more information about Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, visit www.whittlethewood.com.

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