Grab your suspenders, but unless you’re competing, leave the axe at home. The 48th annual Loggers Playday is Saturday, combining competition in which dozens of hopefuls compete for thousands of dollars in prizes with a longtime community celebration. And it’s all topped off with a spectacular fireworks display.
Playday chairman is Keith Burke says he hopes to put past any controversies at the Playday about the parade route or the T-shirt and just hope people will enjoy everything.
“Loggers Playday is about kids,” Burke said. “It’s for kids. It’s not about a personal acts or the Elks. Every dime we make goes back into the community for the kids and scholarship programs.”
Everything starts off with the Hoquiam Rotary Club’s breakfast, going from 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Those who want to try their luck in the competition need to be at Olympic Stadium before 8 a.m., when time trials begin. The annual Playday show starts at 6 p.m. at the stadium. Just buy a Loggers Playday button to get inside. Cost is $3 for the standard button or $5 for a colored version with the extra proceeds going toward scholarships.
The competition features an assortment of both amateurs and professionals, trying their hands at the axe throw, climbing at top speed to the top of giant spar poles and chopping pieces of woods to pieces in the race to become the best “All-Around Logger.” Professionals from as far away as Japan, Australia and New Zealand have competed in the event before, which has been featured on numerous television shows. Keep an eye our for T.J. Bexten of Hoquiam and James Lev of Raymond, who consistently are able to hold their own among the best of the world.
The amateurs have their own categories for double hand bucking, axe throw, choker setting and power saw bucking with one local winning the “High Point Local Logger” title.
New this year at the competition is a unique springboard display, Burke said.
Throughout the day there are several other events.
At 8 a.m., the truck driving competition and binder throwing competition start at 8th Street in downtown Hoquiam.
The Jack Reynvaan 10K Memorial Run begins at 9 a.m. at Hoquiam High School.
The Elks Lodge Grand Parade takes place at noon and winds its way through Downtown Hoquiam. Here’s a tip on the parade: Get there by at least 11:30 a.m. to score a parking spot and avoid street closures that always end up clogging up traffic. Because of the new-ish parade route, the Simpson Avenue Bridge will remain open to traffic to those who must drive through town.
The street fair closes off all of 7th Street, starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. Expect all sorts of food vendors at the event, including the spectacular garlic sausages from Bay City Sausage and usually the Cosi Lions and their burger cart.
Still hungry? The Lions Salmon Bake goes from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Washington Elementary School, next to Olympic Stadium.
The festivities cap off at about 9 p.m. at Olympic Stadium with the fireworks followed by a dance featuring local musical act Ready or Not at the Hoquiam Elks Club.