July in Eastern Oregon/Washington is just rife with exciting small-town festivals.
This past weekend, the trifecta of rural events was made complete as Milton-Freewater’s Logs to Frogs Chainsaw Carving Competition joined the previous weekend’s Caledonian Games and Sweet Onion Festival.
I attended last year’s Logs to Frogs (I was in Walla Walla doing research that would ultimately become my senior thesis with one of my French professors) and was blown away by how strange and amazing it was.
It quickly rose through the ranks, becoming tied for my favorite quirky small-town event (the other placeholder is Walla Walla’s annual Balloon Stampede, which happens every May).
Logs to Frogs is just what it sounds like—a group of burly men competitively carving things out of logs with chainsaws.
Over two days, the competitors participate in a series of timed carves. Their work is judged at the end of each round and auctioned off. Spectators can pop in and out throughout the day or stake out the slow-paced greatness under the shelter of a striped canopy (reminiscent of the tents used to termite houses).
Wood chips fly and children dance under them hoping to catch one.
The information booth sells t-shirts and ear plugs (which I can only assume are for the diehards who stand as close as possible to the rumble of the chainsaws).
The best part of all may be that the entire event is held in a vacant lot just off Highway 11 on the outskirts of Milton-Freewater.
Karah and I woke up early on Saturday to catch a glimpse of the action before heading back to Walla Walla to pervert the airwaves with our weekly radio show.