Oregon festival's giant nutcracker: 41 feet

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2014 8:47 PM
Oregon festival's giant nutcracker: 41 feet

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Sponsors of the annual holiday festival near Roseburg have commissioned a whopper of a centerpiece — a wooden nutcracker intended to stand 41 feet tall, weigh more than 16,000 pounds and work its jaw with enough force to crush coconuts.

The statue was created by a Willamette Valley woodworker using chain saws, The News-Review (http://bit.ly/1AoMDx3) reported.

The crushing power comes from a quarter-horsepower engine that opens and closes a statue jaw about six times a minute.

Cranes were deployed this week to assemble the statue at River Forks Park for the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights, which begins Sunday.

The sponsors say they have sent documentation to the Guinness Book of World Records in hopes of having it declared the world's largest nutcracker, eclipsing a German one 8 feet shorter.

Pieces of the Roseburg statue were trucked on Interstate 5 Monday from the workshop of Toby Johnson in Aurora, between Salem and Portland.

The nutcracker is made of a variety of woods from downed trees: sequoia, coastal redwood, western red cedar and Port Orford cedar.

Johnson said he used a 6-foot chain saw to make the initial cuts and shorter saws for the detail work. Friends at Intermountain Innovations Corp. designed the jaw and did the metal work.

"It's surprisingly beautiful," long-time festival organizer Kerwin Doughton said. "This guy has done an amazing job with his three chain saws."

The holiday festival features 500,000 lights and more than 90 animated displays.

Doughton wants the region to be known for nutcrackers: 4-inchers are on sale this year at the festival.

He's urging the community adopt the nutcracker as a mascot, with businesses sponsoring 6-foot-tall nutcrackers and maps for visitors maps to see nutcrackers in the area.

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Information from: The News-Review, http://www.nrtoday.com