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Logger Days parade attracts record entries

| June 23, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

A record number of entries is expected for Saturday's Logger Days Parade in downtown Libby.

It will mean a lineup of floats, politicians, fire trucks and more that's longer than the parade route.

The 10 a.m. parade will be a highlight for the 48th annual Logger Days, which runs Thursday through Saturday, June 22-24, around the Memorial Center. Logger Day buttons must be purchased to get into the festival. Buttons cost $4 in advance and $5 at the gate. Children under 6 get in free.

As of Wednesday, parade chairperson Pam Peppenger had 141 entries. The previous record was set last year with 126.

"It's a wonderful parade, and everybody loves it," said Peppenger, a member of the Logger Days board and event sponsor, Kootenai Kiwanis.

Peppenger, who will take entries until parade time, has the daunting task of lining up participants for the parade that traverses along roughly six blocks of Mineral Avenue.

"It took me quite some time," she said. "The lineup will start at the (Lincoln) boulevard and go in each direction to Asa Wood and to the other end of Lincoln Boulevard (to Minnesota Avenue)."

While only 15 logging trucks have committed, compared to 40 two years ago, the parade will include senior citizens of the year from Troy, Libby and Eureka; fire departments; U.S. Forest Service; Eagles lodge in Libby and more.

"Every Democrat and Republican that is running for office (will participate)," Peppenger said. "The Libby High School cheerleaders also will be in the parade, which they haven't done in a long time."

Last year's parade attracted about 1,500 spectators so Peppenger suggests getting there early. The parade route begins at Lincoln Boulevard and Mineral Avenue, turns left on Second Street, and ends at California Avenue and Second Street.

"If you really want a seat or to sit on the curb, get there early," Peppenger said. "It fills up fast."

Martin and JoAn Reidlinger of Troy, whose family has been involved with logging for years, will serve as grand marshals for the parade.

As for Logger Days, the festival will include the traditional water fight, Bull of the Woods, logging events and a street dance.

Logger Days opens with food booths, merchant displays, amusements and entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

The water fight on Mineral Avenue will pit teams against Libby firefighters.

Logging show events include speed carving, ax throwing, log jousting over water, speed climbing, log rolling and more.

Other logging events include the "Bull and Bullette of the Woods," in which competitors don boxing gloves and face each other on a giant log to see who can stay on. The children's version is "Wimp of the Woods."

The weekend also will include the "Ma and Pa Relay," a co-ed team competition involving tying up boots, putting on hard hats, traveling in a wheelbarrow to a log and cutting through it with a double buck saw; the "Jack and Jill Race," a double buck sawing competition for guys and gals; the "Lumberjack Relay" to show off the skills of logging crews in setting chokers, chain sawing, ax throwing, and single and double buck sawing.

The competition ends with the popular Tug-O-War Festivities, fireworks by Libby Eagle Pyro Displays, concerts, food booths, children's activities and more.

For more information or advanced tickets, call 293-2000, 293-8585, or 293-1175.

The schedule is as follows:

THURSDAY, JUNE 22

4 to 7 p.m. - Farmers' Market

5:30 p.m. - Junior Water Fight

5:30 p.m. - Beer Garden

7 p.m. - Adult Water Fight

FRIDAY, JUNE 23

5:30 p.m. - Food and merchant booths, children's games, displays, amusements, beer garden

7 p.m. - Bull & Bullette of the Woods, Melodrama "The Veggie Villain" for $9 for adults, $5 for students.

8:30 p.m. - Lip Sync Contest.

10 p.m. - Music: "8 Seconds Flat."

SATURDAY, JUNE 24

8:30 a.m. - Parade lineup.

10 a.m. - Parade.

After parade - Children's Ping Pond Ball Drop follows.

11 a.m. - Food and merchant booths, children's games and amusements

Noon - Children's logging events, beer garden

2 p.m. - Logging events start with PeeVee Log Roll, Ax Throw, Men's Single Buck, Donut Stacking, Ma & Pa Relay, Vertical Chop, Men's and Women's Double Buck, Horizontal Chop and Jack & Jill Double Buck.

3 p.m. - Cabinet Mountain Chevy $500 Giveaway

6:30 p.m. - Music by "Always Patsy Cline."

7 p.m. - Melodrama "The Veggie Villain," admission $9 for adults, $5 for students.