BROOKLYN - Saturday loggers old and young were honored at Saginaw Loggers Day by Ray and Jan Damitio, owners of the Brooklyn Tavern. Jan says, "We created the event to showcase the history of logging in our community and to honor present-day loggers who still work in the woods."
Featured at Loggers Day was the last known steam donkey and Tyler rigging system still working in the Pacific Northwest. The original rigging shack owned by the Saginaw Timber Company in the 1920s was also part of the event, thanks to Myrna Dearth of North River and the Chambers brothers.
Contests of logging skill began shortly after 11 a.m. and ran all day as a crowd of about 600 cheered the amateur competitors on. Such events as double and single bucking, axe throwing, choker setting, standing block chop, chainsaw bucking, coil making, pole climbing, the rolling pin throw, tree topping, and log rolling were all part of the fun and festivities.
The Brooklyn Tavern is as much a part of the event as the competitions are. It was built in 1927 when Saginaw Timber Company was logging in the North River Valley located in the Northeastern-most corner of Pacific County. The tavern is chock full of logging artifacts, home-made signage and "Snoose Creek" that runs along the front side of the vintage bar. Friendly dogs are welcome, but there is no mention of the other kind. The tavern is open Thursday through Sunday evenings and by appointment - just like the dentist office, only a lot more fun.
Saginaw Loggers Day was begun in 1999 and has grown steadily. Parking is free, but a vehicle with ample ground clearance is recommended as fields are used. The road from the east is gravel for several miles and from the west it is windy as it follows the meandering North River. No professional loggers are allowed in the contests and most events feature those men and women who still work in the woods. The family-oriented show has food and arts and craft vendors on the grounds and camping is available, although there are no hookups.
Loggers Day is the third Saturday of September. In July the Brooklyn Tavern hosts a automobile Rallycross and in February they have the Doo Wop Rally Series. For more information and directions go to (www.historicbrooklyntavern.com).
Jan says, "Without the many hard-working volunteers, the local logging companies who donate equipment to help prepare the grounds for the show, and the many sponsors who donate prizes and cash to cover expenses Saginaw Loggers Day could never happen."