By Katie Dahlstrom
Lumberjacks and jills from across the world will converge on Clinton this weekend to take part in the third annual Lumberjack Festival.
The one-of-a-kind event presented by the Sawmill Museum boasts fun for all ages and international athletes competing equipped with saws and axes. Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday at Main Avenue and Grant Street.
"I feel amazing about this event," Sawmill Museum Director Matt Parbs said.
At 1 p.m., the 30 ax-slinging professionals will begin their competition. They will battle one another in challenging feats such as the spring board, which entails a competitor using two spring boards to ascend to the top of a 9-foot pole before chopping a 12-inch diameter block from the top.
The competition will end at 6 p.m. with the hot saw event in which the competitors use a modified chainsaw to make three cuts in a log at lightning speed.
Two events — log rolling and boom running — will debut at this year’s festival. Festival-goers get to watch the professionals try to knock one another down while running across logs in a 10,000-gallon tank of water and also will be invited to test the sport themselves.
From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., log rolling will be open to anyone who wants to try. At 3:30 p.m., local personalities will compete in log rolling.
Parbs encourages everyone to venture to the event this Saturday to witness the more than 20 astonishing competitions.
“First, it’s a full day of family fun. It’s also the chance to see the people you see on ESPN competing. These are world-class professional athletes at their heights,” he said.
In addition to intense competition, there will be other activities. From 1 to 5 p.m. attendees can enjoy the Felix Adler Children’s Discovery Center games, the Iowa National Guard’s climbing wall, the Lumber Baroness tent featuring Miss Clinton County and an appearance by Shocko the Clown.
The Boy Scouts, Holly’s Dogs, Rainbow Cafe, Jaycee’s beer tent, and exhibitors such as the International Wood Carving Congress and more will be open from noon through the event.
The museum will be open for tours also with the vintage sawmill running at the top of every hour until 1 p.m. Regular admission applies.
Tickets for the Lumberjack Festival at the gate are $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Pre-sale tickets are available for $6 for adults and $4 for children. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased online at sawmillmuseum.org or at the Sawmill Museum, Clinton National Bank, Citizens First Bank or Turner Electric.