Chainsaw artist dazzles at the Clark County Fair, despite heat

Jason Emmons put on a spectacle at the Clark County Fair on Monday, turning wooden stumps into intricate animal designs and Ohio State Buckeye logos.

Emmons of Bear Hollow Wood Carvers has been carving at the Clark County Fair for four years. He uses two to three different chainsaws ranging between 7 and 12 pounds, as well as a torch and various spray paints.

Over the course of his 15 year professional wood carving career, Emmons has worked to improve his skills.

“It’s all a journey,” he said. “As an artist, you’re always trying to outdo yourself year after year. That’s why it never gets boring.”

The wood carving station is located outside the Arts and Crafts Building, and is open noon to 9 p.m. daily through Friday. There are four shows a day at noon, 3, 6 and 9 p.m.

Each carving takes an hour to an hour and 15 minutes to complete, according to Emmons. However, the shows put on at the fair are a lightning round compared to the 30 hour, three-day competitions Emmons competes in across the country.

All the wood carvings will be sold at a live auction at 5 pm Thursday, with the proceeds going to the fair.

Many tackled the heat Monday to watch the show, including Norma Hayes of Springfield.

“I come every year. I just enjoy watching what he can make out of a plain block of wood,” Hayes said.

Emmons said he’s thrilled to pursue his passion as a career, undeterred by the high temperature.

“Even when it’s a 100 degrees, I still don’t get tired of it,” he said.

Fairgoers heard continuous updates from the Red Cross on the loud speakers, urging people to hydrate often. Roberta McKeever from the Miami Valley Red Cross has been at the fair for 13 years and has seen plenty of hot days.

She gave tips for staying safe at the fair.

“They need to have one glass of water for every hour they’re out,” she said. “Once you feel like you’re thirsty, you’re already starting to be dehydrated.”

The Red Cross station at the fair provides an air conditioned safe haven for those who begin feeling the effects of the heat. The station has free cold water, Gatorade and, if necessary, will call the emergency medical personnel located on the grounds.

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