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Deposit Hosts 41st Annual Lumberjack Festival

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The 41st annual Lumberjack Festival in Deposit began on Friday with carnival games, rides, and the Jack and Jill logging competition.

"Even if you don't think you'll like it, you come and you watch these guys at their craft and it's pretty awesome, it's pretty fun to watch," said Luke Tucker, Festival President.

The three-day event is supported by the Deposit Lumberjack Festival Inc., which is a non-profit organization founded in 1976 to help support the local non-for-profit organizations and businesses in the Town.

Lumberjacks have an important role in the history of Deposit. Tucker says back in the day, they used the Town's access to the Delaware river to transport their logs after cutting them down.

"90% of the people on our board grew up here, we've been to this festival since we were kids," said Tucker. "I remember when I was a kid, we couldn't wait to get out of school and come to the Lumberjack Festival and I hope I can do that for everybody's kids."

Once 5:00 p.m. rolled around, everybody in attendance made their way to the competition area. That's where 30 professional Lumberjacks and Lumberjills were competing in a co-ed set of lumberjack challenges.

Among the group of competitors taking part in events such as the Underhand, Stock Saw, Standing, and Single Buck, was 22-year-old Alexis Halstead. The Owego-native and Owego Free Academy graduate is the 8th best female Lumberjack in the United States.

"I got involved in college, my freshman year and I fell in love ever since," said Halstead. "I really push myself to train, I go to the gym a lot, I eat right and it has really helped improve my competitive edge and conditioning."

She says the Lumberjacks typically compete in Hancock, but it's nice to be closer to home this year.

"Being a local from the Binghamton area, it's really enjoyable for me to see the community come out and enjoy a sport like this," said Halstead.

Halstead returned from Sydney, Australia in April from the Sydney Royal Easter Show as part of the U.S. National Lumberjill Relay Team. 

While some focused their talents on chopping wood, others, like Fred Avila prefer to carve it. He has been a professional chainsaw carver for the last 12 years.

"I can take a piece of wood and make something that somebody else really loves," said Avila. He will cut up between 10 and 12 different sculptures this weekend.

The Lumberjack Festival continues on Saturday with a 5K race, Horseshoe Tournament, a Lumberjack Showdown, and more.