Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's tree cutting of a different sort than what Paul Bunyan would be used to as the U.S. Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship gets off to a roaring start.
There are 11 carvers in Eau Claire from around the world, including Australia, Japan and Germany, who are all hoping to saw their way to the title.
The chainsaw artists started carving Thursday morning and will work for the better part of each day until Sunday.
On Thursday and Friday, they are creating a wildlife piece and then a wood carving of their choice on Saturday and Sunday.
The event is a big draw for people from around the Midwest. Organizers said in 2016, about 15,000 spectators came to watch the event, and they are hoping for 20,000 this weekend, who can all bid to take home their favorite sculpture.
"The carvers love the venue. We've been able to attract a nice crowd for them. The auction items have gone for a nice price, so they like coming here. It fits with the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum, and it provides some great funding for the camp,” said Larry Doyle, the event chairperson of the U.S. Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship.
Half of the proceeds from the auction will go to the champion carvers while the rest stays in the community, benefiting the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum in Carson Park.
The carving starts at 10 a.m. each day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $6 at the gate. Kids 17 and under are free.