ESCANABA - Organizers of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association's 68th Annual Lake States Logging Congress and Equipment Expo in Escanaba are calling the event a success.
Logging Congress was held Friday and Saturday at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds and Ruth Butler Building.
The annual Logging Congress allows professionals from the forest products industry to speak with various industry exhibitors and vendors and see firsthand the latest products and equipment available.
Chainsaw carver Chad Denkins, of Cooks, creates a gargoyle statue during the Lake States Logging Congress and Equipment Expo in Escanaba Saturday. The two-day event brought vendors and customers together at the U.P. State Fairgrounds where the latest in forest industry products and equipment were displayed. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
The event typically sees 200 vendors at 350 booths spanning approximately 875,000 square feet and averages between 3,000 and 4,000 attendees per day.
According to GLTPA Executive Director Henry Schienebeck, this year's Logging Congress was a success in just its first day.
"We're doing great," he said. "We think the turnout's up a little bit. The weather is cooperating very well, which is a good thing. You know when you start running out of parking spaces that's a good sign."
The big change to this year's Logging Congress was the transition from the former three-day event to a two-day event with extended hours.
"This event is a good time for members to get out and see what's new and communicate with each other and that's an important part of the business - staying on top of what's going on," said Schienebeck.
He also noted the response from exhibitors and visitors regarding the venue and organization of this year's Logging Congress have been positive.
Though an important event to forestry and logging in the Lake States, Logging Congress is also is a major fundraiser for the GLTPA.
"We're funded by this event and membership dues," said Schienebeck. "We don't get any government grants or any of that type of thing. We're self-funded, so this is a one time a year fundraiser and it's probably about one-third of our budget overall."
Escanaba has embraced the Logging Congress each year it comes to town and is a great city to work with when planning the event, he added.
"We're just happy to be back in Escanaba. The community embraces us and I hope that we bring a good bit of business back to the community. We want to see this fairground continue to exist and hopefully events like this will provide income that helps the community too," said Schienebeck.
This year's Logging Congress started off with a social Kickoff Event in the Miracle of Life Pavilion on the fairgrounds Thursday. Activities during the main two-day event Friday and Saturday included the Original Prentice Loader Championship contest, Great Lakes Forwarder Challenge, a ladies bowling pin throw contest, and tug-of-war competition between Michigan and Wisconsin. Additional activities for the entire family included the Growing UP Foresters Interactive Exhibit, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Pocket Park Interactive Exhibit, and truck rides around the fairgrounds.
Organizers have already begun planning for the 69th annual event to be held Sept. 5 and 6 at the EAA Grounds in Oshkosh, Wis.
The first Logging Congress took place in Houghton on Nov. 1 and 2, 1945, but in 1948, the event began changing locations to encourage greater exposure and participation. The event typically alternates between Wisconsin and Michigan, and was last held in Escanaba in 2011.
For more information on the GLTPA, visit www.timberpa.com.