SEBRING — Events in Highlands County that showcase the work of creative artists residing in Lake Placid, Sebring and Avon Park always draws huge crowds. People are in awe of how many talented artists live here.

Last Saturday was no exception as a large crowd gathered at the Sebring Recreation Center for the 23rd Annual Artistry in Woodcarving show and competition.

Visitors viewed a whole array of creative carvings as they visited with the artists. There were four areas of competition ranging from Beginners to Master craftsmen. Karen Hess won the Masters competition with her duck carving. Larry Jones’ piece entitled Metamorphosis took first in the Advanced area. Kerry D. Meeker’s floral carving took first in Intermediate and Tom Seydlek’s Cowboy placed first in the Beginner category.

Carvings in all categories were on display. They included birds, animals, miniatures, caricatures and wood burning. Harold Harper from Ohio featured many caricatures, but his Santa carvings were most admired. Aaron Perkins has been carving for over twenty-five years. His specialty is taking a golf ball, cutting half the cover off and caving into the ball. “I’m known as the ‘Golf Ball’ carver,” he said.

Vendors were on hand, selling books of the hobby, bass and drift wood, tools and gloves. Fred Winner from Pennsylvania purchased a pair of carving gloves from Jim O’Den. Winner said, “The gloves reduce my need for stitches.”

Guests paid $3 to support the Highlands Woodcarvers Club. Members also treated the guests to huge hot dogs with all the trimmings, home made cookies and beverages. Nancy Pratt purchased a fully loaded hot dog from Larry Weiss saying, “I just love to admire the awesome pieces the carvers create.”

The hobby looks easy, and, as one area artists showing his beautiful horse carving said, “I just take a piece of bass wood and cut away until the horse appears.”

People interested in joining the club or learning the hobby can contact club president Eric Maron at 863-273-6136. He can be reached via e-mail at efmaron@centurylink.net. The members meet at the Sebring Recreation Center, 333 Pomegranate Ave, every Saturday and Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

-