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Dollywood Woodcarving Showcase 2006

Photos by Jack A. and Carole Williams


As part of the Dollywood annual National Gospel and Harvest Celebration, carvers from 18 states came together to compete, demonstrate and exhibit their carvings September 29 thru October 1, 2006.  This was the 15th year for the Dollywood Woodcarving Showcase, a unique show located inside the Dollywood theme park that is always brimming with spectacular Fall Festival decorations and events.  The beautiful weather and trees starting to show their colors add to the festive weekend.

The first event on Friday was the Woodcarving Competition in both one Intermediate and two open Divisions. Three teams of three judges each selected the top carvings and in the three different divisions nine carvings were awarded the top “Best” honors.  These same judges also selected the TOP 25 carving, which were placed on display in a special exhibit.  From this exhibit on Saturday the carvers selected the Carvers’ Choice award and the park’s guests voted on the Peoples’ Choice.

On each of the three days a carving competition is held under a large tent on the park grounds that gives the park’s guests a chance to observe and talk to the carvers.  The carvers make difficult carving look easy.  The first event was the Team Carve competition on Friday afternoon. This year five teams of four carvers each were selected and each carver given a piece of wood 1-1/2” X 1-1/2” x 6”. Each team’s goal was to produce one totem pole with a Dollywood theme using the carvings made from all four blanks.  The winning team consisted of Tony Harris, Charlie Cooke, Don Mertz and Larry Nix.  The second place team included Larry Stout, Vic Hood, Bruce Henn and Don Worley.

Saturday’s main event was the Whittling Contest.  Each carver was given a block of basswood and was told to carve anything that they wanted within certain guidelines. The $100 first place went to Gary Falin,  $75 second to Vic Hood, $50 third place to Wayne Shinlever, $35 fourth to Bruce Henn, $25 fifth to Renee’ Manning and $15 sixth place to Terry Truesdell.

After a full day carvers and their families enjoyed Dollywood’s famous Tennessee home cooked dinner. Don Worley and Don Mertz emceed at the Carvers Exchange and the drawing of the door prizes donated by Dollywood.

Sunday morning Dollywood hosted the Awards Coffee. After Dollywood’s famous pastries were served, prize money was handed out and the winner of the Carvers’ Choice and Peoples’ Choice awards were announced.    Bonnie Collins took home the  Carvers’ Choice award, and Larry Nix the Peoples’ Choice.  During the show a mystery judge had visited with each table talking with each carver while judging Best Booth. The judging was based on originality, presentation of carvings, activity (such as demonstration) and interaction with the show visitors. Steve Smith was the winner of this year’s award.

The Great Pumpkin Carving Contest was the last event of the show held Sunday afternoon. Each carver was given a Dollywood home grown pumpkin and went off to carve a subject of choice.  This event proved to be exciting for the carvers as well as fun for Dollywood’s guests.  The first place went to Terry Truesdell, second to Renee’ Manning and third to Wayne Shinlever.  The carved pumpkins are donated to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital located in Knoxville, TN.

Ribbon winners

Wildlife Realistic
Birds Game: Doug Arrowood, Norman Cage
Birds of Prey:  Clair Smith, Norman Cage, Robert Culver
Song:  Clair Smith, Connie Gilliam, Jim Rawlings
Shore:  John & Dotty Berner
Group:  Connie Gilliam 1st & 2nd, Norman Cage
Miscellaneous: Robert Culver, Bonnie Collins 2nd & 3rd.
Waterfowl:  John & Dotty Berner, Norman Cage 2nd & 3rd.
Aquatic:  Norman Cage, Joseph Dobson, Doug Arrowood.
Animals:  Larry Nix, Keith Dalton 2nd & 3rd
Group:  Bonnie Collins, Keith Dalton, Moses Hamblin.
Best of Wildlife:  Larry Nix, John & Dotty Berner, Bonnie Collins.

Wood Sculpture
Miniatures:  Gary Falin, Larry Nix, Gary Falin.
Animals – Realistic, unpainted:  Larry Nix, Doug Arrowood, Moses Hamblin.
Caricature:  Bruce Henn, Keith Dalton, Charlie Cooke.
Human – Bust realistic:  Terry Truesdell 1st & 3rd, Vic Hood
Bust caricature:  Tony Harris 1st & 2nd, Gary Falin
Figures, painted:  Don Mertz, Doug Arrowood.
Figures unpainted 15” and shorter:  Don Mertz
Figures unpainted above 15”high:  Vic Hood
Caricature single painted under 7”:  Don Mertz 1st & 2nd, Gary Falin
Caricature single painted 7” & above:  Jack Williams, Gary Falin, Tony Harris
Group realistic:  Moses Hamblin, Abe Loudermilk, Doug Arrowood
Group caricature:  Edwin McClure.
Clowns:  Larry Stout, Don Mertz, Charlie Cooke.
Santa Claus:  Gary Falin, Jim Rawlings, Renee’ Manning.
Mythical Figures:  Don Mertz 1st & 2nd, Gary Falin.
Patriotic  Jim Rawlings, Moses Hamblin.
Relief Carvings:  Bruce Henn
Pictorial:  Ken Manning, Terry Truesdell, Vic Hood
Landscape:  Janet Peek, Doug Arrowood.
Chip :  John Roth 1st & 2nd, Mickey Hudspeth.
Stylized:  Ray Kunz 1st & 2nd, Doug Arrowood.
Jewelry:  Don Mertz.
Found Wood:   Steve Smith, Vic Hood, Ken Manning.
Walking Sticks:  Doug Arrowood, Jerry Sliger.
Bottlestoppers:  Bruce Henn, Vic Hood 2nd & 3rd.
Miscellaneous:  Joseph Dobson, Vic Hood, Ken Manning.
Best of Wood Sculpture:  Ken Manning, John Roth, Larry Stout.

Birds  Russ Jackson 1st & 2nd, Leland Brock.
Aquatic  Leland Brock.
Animals – Realistic:  Max Mays 1st & 2nd. Caricature: Max Mays.
Humans – Realistic:  Max Mays. Caricature: Ernest Hill 1st & 2nd, Dave Tuttle
Bust:  Leland Brock 1st & 2nd
Group:  Russ Jackson, Ernie Hill.
Santa Claus/Mythical  Dave Tuttle, Ernest Hill, Leland Brock.
Bottlestoppers  Ernest Hill.
Miscellaneous  Ernest Hill, Leland Brock.
Best of Intermediate  Russ Jackson 1st & 2nd, Leland Brock.

The 2007 Dollywood Woodcarving Showcase will take place October 5 thru October 7. During the same weekend the country’s largest celebration of Southern Gospel Music and one of the Smokies’ largest outdoor crafts festivals is also held.  The autumn artisans will demonstrate a unique array of skills ranging from traditional pioneer crafts born of necessity to innovative forms of artistry.  For info on applications, contact: Kelli Bartee, Dollywood Events, 1020 Dollywood Ln, Pigeon Forge TN 37863; 865-428-9563; 865-428-9828 fax;

Dollywood is offering a special discounted three-day ticket to Woodcarver Online Magazine readers who wish to attend the 2007 Dollywood Woodcarving Showcase in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.  Available by mail only, this ticket includes all the attractions that are a part of regular Dollywood admission, including the National Gospel and Harvest Celebration (except prize-winning games and celebrity concerts). For complete information, contact Kelli Bartee at the address above.


2006 Woodcarving Showcase Gallery - click HERE


Copyright 2007, All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.