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Woodsmen's Weekend in Thurman?

ATHOL-Thurman may host a new signature festival celebrating traditional rural skills, if the town board's plans are realized.

On March 8, the Thurman Town Board endorsed establishing a weekend-long Woodsmen's Days event - after hearing about the concept from town Supervisor Evelyn Wood.

The festival would feature a two-day lumberjack competition that would include log rolling, axe throwing, woodsplitting and wielding a crosscut sawing through timber and similar contests, Wood said.

The festival could also celebrate traditional Adirondack crafts, host cultural exhibits, and likely be complete with a parade and fireworks, she said.

Wood said she and officers of the New York State Lumberjacks Association had been talking, and they were willing to co-sponsor a medium-sized woodsmen's festival in Thurman Aug. 12-14. The expectation is that the festival would increase substantially in following years, Wood said.

The Thurman Town Board endorsed holding the festival on Veterans' field behind the town hall. Wood said that she and others were seeking out larger fields in the area for potential use to host the festival in case it grew to a size too large for Veterans' Field.

Soon, she said, the town board will be establishing a citizens' committee to organize the Woodsmen's Days, and they'd likely be developing advertising plans and soliciting sponsors.

"If we can raise enough prize money, we'll have a world-class lumberjack competition," she said.

Wood noted that planning to hold Thurman's Woodsmen's Days one week before the legendary Woodsmen's Days in Boonville would likely prompt lumberjacks from all over the nation to attend Thurman's competition in addition to Boonville's - making a vacation out of their journey to the Adirondacks.

The Boonville Woodsmen's Days, a nationally renowned event, has been in existence over 60 years and it annually attracts thousands of visitors.

Wood said Thurman's Woodsmen's Days could theoretically be as popular, filling up area lodges, campgrounds and motels for a weekend or more.

"We want to build our economy as we reflect our heritage," she said.

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