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Article updated: 2/16/2013 5:49 PM

Large crowd for wood show's first day in St. Charles

By Elena Ferrarin

Lori Pelenis has never carved wood before, but on Saturday she decided to take the plunge and get equipped for what might soon become her new hobby.

Pelenis, of Wheaton, was among more than 300 people who attended the Winter Wood Wonders art show at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles. The show featured about 30 exhibitors and all forms of wood art, from carving to turning, intarsia, scroll saw and much more.

"It's a very nice show," said Pelenis, who bought beginner's carving tools and a couple of wood blanks. "There are a lot of people to talk to, and a lot of people are happy that you're here learning something new."

This is the event's third year -- the second at the Kane County Fairgrounds-- and attendance on Saturday was double the attendance on the first day last year, said co-organizer Terry Cairns.

The other two organizers are Shelly Weiser and Jon Cooper; all three are members of the Batavia Woodcarvers. Proceeds of the show benefit the Hines VA Hospital Windy City Athletes.

"Today has been going extremely well," Cairns said. "(The Kane County Fairgrounds) is going to be our permanent home. Next year, we want to keep expanding and find even more different types of wood art."

One can make pretty much anything out of wood, said exhibitor Mark McCleary of Villa Park, who showed off goblets, bird houses, baskets and even pens. His best piece -- though one not for sale -- is a mountain dulcimer he made this summer, he said.

Glenn Rooney of Plato Center bought a slab of basswood that he will use to make doors for a wine cabinet. The slab has a dark shape in the middle that resembles a wineglass, which will be perfect for his cabinet, he said.

"I recently retired. I used to make most of my stuff for family and friends. Now, I'm going to start to sell it more," he said.

Among the exhibitors was first-timer Kenyon Priester of Lake in the Hills, who showed off tables and coffee tables made out of recycled wood.

"I'm very glad I came out," Priester said. "I do sales year-round, and this was definitely worth it."

The event continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road in St. Charles. For information, visit winterwoodwonders.com.

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