2021 KENTUCKY WOOD EXPO IN REVIEW
The 34th Kentucky Wood Expo took place on September 17 & 18 at Masterson Station Park. This was the fifth show in Lexington and attendance exceeded expectation from the industry considering the pandemic. A big thanks goes out to the Parks and Recreation Department, for their assistance and cooperation during the week and VisitLEX along with the Lexington community for all their support for the show. The Expo is conducted by the Kentucky Forest Industries Association to provide members an opportunity to see new technology and make purchasing decisions.
Although the number of exhibits was down, we had some first time exhibitors and were pleased with the turnout. Many suppliers were limited on travel, equipment and personnel making it difficult to participate in the 2021 Expo. Robert Bauer, KFIA Executive Director and other association leadership spoke with exhibitors, and reported positive feedback.
Visitor attendance was good and “considering the circumstances, we were very pleased with the outcome,” said Dan Allard, KFIA President. The weather was perfect Friday and Saturday which brought an estimated attendance of 1,800 visitors and over 400 students from around the region and from other states through the show. The industry crowd was more quality over quantity with a number of exhibitors making contacts and selling equipment.
This year’s Wood Expo was a success thanks to many of our members and partners throughout the forestry community. The show featured a number of events that not only brought in additional attendees but also provided many educational benefits and additional things to do while at the show. A huge thank you goes out to the University of Kentucky Forestry Extension Department for all of their efforts to assist with conducting the collegiate conclave competition, educational events and supplying much needed labor for the show. A shout out also needs to go to the Kentucky Division of Forestry for their support of the Wood Expo by helping with the set-up, tear down and the arena competitions. The industry is lucky to have such excellent partners to support forestry and the wood industry in Kentucky.
In addition to the educational events the lumberjack arena had a full slate of activities between the FFA forestry competition and the Collegiate Conclave. On Friday afternoon the show hosted the Kentucky Lumberjack Games Invitational competition providing an opportunity for anyone to participate. We had teams from UK Forestry Club, Kentucky Division of Forestry and the Lexington Fire Department, KFIA Member Aden Troyer was on hand to offer some advice for the competitors. Congratulations to the Lexington Fire Department who took home first place in the heated competition.
On Saturday the arena was busy with the college student competition with teams competing representing the University of Kentucky and Louisiana Tech University. After a full day of events including an axe throw, sawing, log rolling and chopping Louisiana Tech University Forestry was declared the winner with the most points and took home the coveted trophy as the champions of the Wood Expo conclave events.
University of Kentucky Forestry Extension offered several educational opportunities to benefit landowners or anyone interested with Forest Health and Invasive Plant Management and Small Scale Logging: cutting and moving logs with ATV’s and tractors. The popular Critter Tent allowed visitors to handle and gaze upon several nonvenomous, live amphibians and reptiles. The tent features live tarantulas, scorpions, giant roaches and other creatures.
The cutting board program was again a success giving away over 300 cutting boards to those in attendance that were willing to sit through a brief program. The program explained the value of the wood industry to the state’s economy and then offered an opportunity to route, sand and finish an actual wood product. All of these activities helped to make the show even bigger and better in Lexington.
Music was provided from S.O.S. a well-seasoned group of musicians who are still in their prime musically came in from Frankfort, KY. They played classic rock and roll with a little bit of country. Everyone had a great time.
The Chainsaw Carving Competition continued again this year with 3 carvers competing to design the perfect piece to submit to a live auction on Saturday. Half of all the money raised at the auction went to the Kentucky Log a Load for Kids program to support the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The piece that raised the most money determined the winner of the competition who was Travis Plucinski, White Hills Carving Co., Seymour, TN whose carving brought the highest bid. This was Travis’ first competition and he was excited to win first place. 2nd place went to Troy Baker, TB Wooden Creations from Metamora, IN, Troy has been carving with us since 2015, and we appreciate his continued support. Brent Pope, Tree Eater Chainsaw Carving from Kodak, TN was our 3rd carver and made a beautiful piece.
Mission Statement - To promote a sustainable forest products industry by interacting with and educating the public