New year brings Rendezvous

With the new year comes the 12th annual Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, as organizers are preparing for the weeklong event."It's coming together pretty well and we have about 130 carvers signed up so far, which is pretty much par for the course," Liz Boni, co-owner of Appalachian Arts Studio in Ridgway and the main organizer of the event.The Rendezvous is scheduled for Feb. 19-26."I'm excited about the people who are coming," said Appalachian Arts Studio co-owner and event organizer Rick Boni. "We have a lot of carvers coming back and we have some great European carvers coming again this year, some new ones from Norway, a brand-new group of people coming over for their first time. "They just started carving this year so we're all really excited for that."Now in its 12th year, the Bonis said it is not difficult to keep the interest flowing in the special event."When you see the results of what is accomplished over the years, that's how the interest in the event continues," Rick said. "You hear the wonderful stories even from the first year, just things that have happened and you have a better life because of it basically."People's lives improve because they learn a lot about carving, they learn a lot about how they could maybe change their business or their lifestyle to some degree to make an improvement."For Liz, chainsaw carving itself has become not only an art form, but also an industry."More than just people doing it for a hobby or folks trying to find a way to have a business," Liz said. "It's gone global and has definitely become its own entity, and it's being recognized as a viable art form and a way to make a living through the arts."For more on this story, see the Dec. 8 edition of The Daily Press.