Whittle the Wood generating new buzz on social media | CraigDailyPress.com

Whittle the Wood generating new buzz on social media

Facebook, Twitter presence help increase awareness of annual event

One of Craig's biggest gatherings of the year is around the corner, but if you've been following the event on social media, you already knew that.

The 16th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous takes place June 17 to 20, and organizers are focused on promoting the yearly carving competition heavily on Facebook and Twitter before, during and after the big days.

Last year marked a push to create a greater online presence for Whittle the Wood, and those behind it are striving to do even more this summer.

Melody Villard, director of Moffat County Tourism Association, oversees Whittle's Facebook page and Twitter handle, which are intended to widen awareness about the details of the entire week's happenings, from the carvers themselves to the musical performances to the Bear River Young Life car show downtown.

Components like cross-promotion among the varied but related events are crucial, and Villard has offered classes in the community to help navigate features of social media.

"It helps corral the conversation so we're all talking about the same thing," she said.

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Besides appealing to the regular crowds in attendance year after year, Villard has also included noteworthy pictures of masterpieces by woodworkers from all walks to alert more new people throughout the year to the unique summer event offered in Northwest Colorado.

With more than 700 Likes and counting on Facebook since last year, the page is gaining traction, though it's not easy to gauge how many spectators attended purely because of the social media campaign. However, contests and giveaways through the platform showed people were undoubtedly paying attention in 2014.

"We know we were reaching people," Craig Parks & Recreation Director Dave Pike said. "It's kind of hard to determine the effect that kind of stuff has, but I know it can't hurt."

Pike said the online effort is almost entirely Villard's.

"She's really good at that, and we're happy to have her helping us," he said.

Last year, photos showed the progression of each carver, with hashtags for each of them. Such updates will allow fans to see how things are going even if they can't make it to Loudy-Simpson Park each day.

"A lot of people see the carvings when they're finished, but if they're not from here haven't attended, they don't always get a chance to see what it started as," she said.

With 12 carvers competing, Villard hopes to do more with each one leading up to the start of carving with surveys and other interactive features that will give people an idea of who it is creating the wooden marvels that will eventually become a regular part of Craig's look.

"People always want to visit with the carvers, but they don't always have time to chitchat," she said. "A lot of people have built a rapport with them, and this lets them promote them in a new way."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

Whittle the Wood Rendezvous and Bear River Young Life Car Show

— Follow updates on the event’s carvings, music and more at Facebook.com/WhittletheWood or the Twitter handle @WhittletheWood. For updates on the car show, visit Facebook.com/BearRiverYL or @grrrsplash.