2017 Flannel Fest flaunts fall festivities

Photo by David Saveanu | Attendees to 2017’s Flannel Fest look on during a lumberjack show.

Photo by David Saveanu | Attendees to 2017’s Flannel Fest look on during a lumberjack show.

David Saveanu

Staff Writer

This past Saturday at Champaign’s Hessel Park, people watched professional lumberjacks put on a show and take part in other lumberjack activities at the 2017 Flannel Fest.

The Flannel Fest began at 11 a.m. on Oct. 8, and went until 4 p.m. The festival included live music, food, art vendors, and its biggest attraction: the lumberjack show.

The festival stretched out across the park, with food vendors like The Snack Shack, Dragon Fire Pizza, and others along the outer edges of the festival.

The festival included a truck decorated with flannel and lumberjack memorabilia. At the truck, people could take pictures and competitions like the Mustache Contest were held.

There was also a “pumpkin chunkin’ zone” where families could catapult small pumpkins at different haystack targets, a games and inflatables zone, and a stage decorated with logs where the lumberjacks performed. There were hayrides and crafts as well.

Terry Von Thaden, a local mom, said she enjoyed the festival.

“I think it’s really [a] great family friendly event,” she said. “They have a lot of activities for the kids to keep them entertained and in fact I have a couple young girls here with me, and I’m happy letting them roam. I think there’s enough activities to keep them engaged.”

Thaden said she thought everyone could enjoy the comedic lumberjack show.

“This lumberjack show is a riot and I think all ages have enjoyed the lumber jack show,” Thaden said. “Its power tools and the guys are putting on little skits and they have puns going on and there’s some real skill and strength going on.”

The lumberjack show consisted of events, like hot sawing, speed carving, obstacle pole relay races, axe throwing, speed climbing, single buck saw races, log rolling, underhand chopping, and springboard chopping.

The event was put on by the Champaign Park District and DLW Timberworks, a company that provides performers that are professionals in logging, and other lumberjack-related activities. The company came and put on a show for the attendees of the fest, involving the audience and lumberjack competitions.

According to the company website, DLW Timberworks “has been a dominant force in lumberjack sports across North America and the world for years.”

Lumberjacks from the company have been on “Great Outdoor Games” on ESPN, “Timbersport Series” hosted by Stihl, a Germany-based power tool company whose founder invented the chainsaw in 1926, and “Wide World of Sports” on ABC.

Later Timberworks put on a couple of events, followed by a short break that was filled with a Mustache contest. Then the lumberjack show returned with more events, stopped once more by numerous artists. The day ended with some finishing events by the lumberjacks.

Flannel Fest is about more than just lumberjacks. Last year the festival held an event where they lined up different attendees, holding mattresses, who fell back against one another, creating a human size domino effect.

The festival’s main focus is creating a family friendly event that brings the community together with different performances.

The Champaign Park District works to create family events year-round. To learn more about coming up events from the Champaign Park District visit champaignparks.com.