Logging has played a large role in Rhinelander’s history but up until now, there has not been a festival or event to celebrate that past.
But Chamber Executive Director Lara Reed is looking to change that.
“I have been thinking about this for a while now,” Reed said. “I was a little surprised that we haven’t had anything like this before. But it is a great avenue for us to do now.”
That avenue has led Reed and her committee to create the city’s newest festival, Log Jam which will be held June 21 and will pay homage to Rhinelander’s logging past.
“Logging is so important to Rhinelander and even today we see the industries that still rely on logging,” Reed said. “When we have people coming into the Chamber asking us what there is to do here, we always send them to the logging museum.”
The festival will be held at Hodag Park and will run side-by-side with the annual American Legion Baseball Tournament but will provide plenty of its own entertainment.
“We were looking into bringing in a lumberjack show, which is where this all started,” Reed said. “The lumberjack shows do three shows a day along with demonstrations and wood carvings, so we thought if we are going to do all this why not add some other activities in with it.”
Reed has inked the All-American Lumberjack Show to perform at the event on Boom Lake. But they will not be the only loggers on site.
“We actually have some committee members that were once in these lumberjack shows, so they are going to do demonstrations and teach people some of the techniques that the show is not going to teach,” Reed said.
The lumberjack shows will include log rolling competitions, cross cutting and other traditional logging events. The All-American Lumberjacks will also be available between shows to help participants tryout some of the techniques and then also offer wood carvings for purchase.
While all the details of the activities surrounding the event are not hammered out, Reed said there will be plenty to do from sun up until sunset.
“We are bringin in music and we have a headling act, Raised Reckless, they are a central Wisconsin country band,” she said. “We will have a photo booth where people can dress up in lumberjack apparrel and have their photo taken. We will also have a horseshoe competition.”
The Masonic Lodge will be offering a pancake breakfast to kick off the event and Reed said the committee is looking for community organization and non-profit groups who interested in running other food stands.
While the festival will be centered at Hodag Park, the entire city will be involved. During the event, the Historical Preservation Society will offer a tour of historic homes around Rhinelander and a shuttle bus will be available to take festival goers from Hodag Park to the Logging Museum at Pioneer Park. Since it is a Saturday, the Farmer’s Market will also be going on at Pioneer Park.
“This is going to be a great community wide event,” Reed said. “There is going to be something to do from the morning until night.”
Reed said while the basic structure of the festival is set, there is still time for those with ideas to come forward and add to the event.
“If someone has an idea, we welcome any input,” she said. “We also still have room on the festival committee if anyone wants to volunteer and wants to be a part of this event.”
Reed said the committee is about to begin their fund-raising efforts and would welcome any sponsorship requests that come in. But she added, the most important thing for people to do is start talking about the event.
“Just spread the word,” she said. “If we can get people talking about it now and get people thinking about it, that can help a lot.”
For more information, to volunteer or to sponsor Log Jam, call Reed at 715-365-7464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.