Best of Moffat County 2018: Whittle the Wood stays sharp as Best Community Event |

Best of Moffat County 2018: Whittle the Wood stays sharp as Best Community Event

After nearly two decades, it still evolves little by little each year, but one thing that never changes is that it remains a favorite.

Whittle the Wood Rendezvous took the title of Best Community Event, Best Festival and Best Outdoor Event for 2018’s Best of Moffat County.

Whittle the Wood’s roots go back to 1999, as a small crafts event that attracted a crowd as a handful of chainsaw users turn a selection of dead cottonwood trees in Craig City Park into something more pleasing to the eye. Organizers with Craig Parks and Recreation later went on to move it to the larger Loudy-Simpson Park.

The annual festival that features about a dozen chainsaw artists from across the nation provides entertainment all in itself, as spectators view a tree stump take a whole new form — woodland critters, pop culture icons, dream imagery — virtually anything the carver can convey.

Each entrant brings a special sensibility and an inventory of his or her best work for sale. The large canvas they work on throughout the week — winners taking home some sizable cash prizes — is condensed in a quick carve round that showcases their skills in a matter of minutes.

The buzz of chainsaws leads to multiple musical performances, with local and regional groups opening for bigger names. Among the headliners to rock the audience have been Rare Earth, Blue Öyster Cult, The Outlaws, Cracker, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Jefferson Starship, The Subdudes, The Samples and, most recently, Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

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Long after the summer happenings, the works of art live on in the landscape of Northwest Colorado, displayed prominently around the community to create a unique look that reminds folks of the fun of the festival and keeps them looking forward to what’s to come.