Log Jamboree thrills
September 22, 2022
By P.J. GLISSON
Ewen - Last Saturday, which was the main day of the 45th annual Log Jamboree, drew a lively and consistent crowd throughout hours of activities that included lumber and quilt shows, vendors and games, and plenty of food.
It was a day for denim, flannel, boots and braids, with flannel shirts in all sizes - sometimes worn to great effect by entire families. There also were flannel dresses, hats and jackets, with some girls tying a shirt around their waists to make it look like a skirt.
The day started with a Loggers Fun Run and Walk at the Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School, followed by a log-themed parade on Cedar Street.
Parade emcee Mike Urbis interspersed snappy chat with peppy country music, assuring that the crowd's spirit never waned.
As the parade approached, he even asked viewers to yell "Yeah!" at increasingly higher volume.
Leading the parade was the Ontonagon County Sheriff's Office, followed by local veterans and band members from the Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School.
Those participants all stopped in front of Urbis' stand as he encouraged everyone present to sing the national anthem, in conjunction with the band.
The song ended in widespread applause, and Urbis declared, "Now, let's have ourselves a wonderful day in downtown Ewen."
The parade proceeded with no end of candy throws and handouts. Kids and adults even approached parade vehicles to get treats dumped directly into their hands.
Among several creative parade entries were two groups of alumni from the Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School District.
One float from the Class of 1982 featured bright colors, classic rock and spirited participants. Meanwhile, members of the Class of 1972 waved their enlarged high school graduation photos from the windows of a school bus and even disembarked the bus to dance around it while interacting with the crowd.
A witch float from the Bruce Crossing Fourth of July Committee thanked people for supporting its July 4 event and invited them to check out a "Boo Crossing" party and haunted house on Oct. 29 from 2-11 p.m. at the Bruce Crossing VFW Post 9345.
There were several floats sponsored by businesses and other organizations.
The Lake Superior Tired Iron Club also factored in with several area fire and rescue trucks.
Anchoring the parade was a semi-truck hauling a large load of logs.
After the parade, McMillan Township Centennial Hall was the base of most jamboree action, which included the aptly themed Great Lakes Timber Show from Escanaba.
Bruce Belanger, who has been hosting such shows since 1985, led the entertainment, which included wood-carving, axe-throwing, and a brief history lesson in antique saws used as far back as the 1800s.
Belanger's crew included Blake Pfiester and Cole Bennetts, who challenged him in a good-humored wood competition for an audience either sitting on bleachers or gathering in a large arc to stand and cheer.
Belanger used an electric saw while the other guys teamed up with an M-tooth crosscut saw. Each side won one round.
Bennetts and Pfiester finished the show by demonstrating log rolling in a pool of water.
"Log rolling comes from the old river drives," said Belanger about the old days of the logging industry.
He said his guys, who showed admirable skill, were performing on a red cedar log, which he assured is rot-resistant and "very buoyant."
Another popular aspect of the Log Jam is a raffle sponsored by the McMillan Township Volunteer Fire Department, which is also known as the Ewen Fire Department. It resulted in the distribution of a float filled with children's bikes.
On Friday and Saturday, the Ewen Methodist Church featured a Peacemakers Quilt Show at the church, and students from Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School offered a Friday evening music show.
Other activities during the 2-day event included a coin scramble, craft and vendor fair, bake sale, canoe poker run, other games and raffles, a Friday soup and salad luncheon, and Saturday concessions that included chili and hot dogs and an old-timey lemonade stand.
During his announcements, parade emcee Urbis suggested that everyone enjoying the event also take the opportunity to voice gratitude to the people who made it possible, as well as those who ensure their general welfare on a daily basis.
"When you see a volunteer, thank them," said Urbis. "When you see a service person, thank them. When you see someone from law enforcement, thank them. We are nothing without them."