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‘Country Chainsaw Carvers’ get married in Legion Park
ARLINGTON — It was a whirlwind weekend for Debbie Tremko, and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Before Aug. 12, she was still Debbie Anderson, and she was not only planning the return to downtown Arlington of the “Country Chainsaw Carvers” event that she’d started last year, but she was also preparing for a visit from film crews for the Discovery Channel who were going to tape video segments of her fellow chainsaw carvers at her now-annual event.
On Aug. 12, not only did she have to coordinate the first day of that Friday and Saturday’s “Country Chainsaw Carvers” event with the visiting Discovery Channel crews in the city of Arlington parking lot on Olympic Avenue, but she also got married to fellow chainsaw carver Dave Tremko, in front of a festival of cameras and under a gauntlet of raised chainsaws.
“I didn’t really plan any of this,” said Debbie, who was friends with Dave for nearly a year before he proposed to her. “At first it was just going to be a small wedding, but about three weeks ago we decided that we needed to invite all our chainsaw carver friends. It all came together so fast that I can’t help but feel like God blessed everything here today.”
Debbie and Dave met through their mutual interest in chainsaw carving, but their friendship was strictly platonic until Debbie’s previous husband contacted her, while she and Dave were at a chainsaw carving event in Pennsylvania, to tell her that he was getting a divorce.
“She chucked her ring out the window of a moving car and before it had even hit the ground I’d asked her to marry me,” said Dave, who got a set of matching chainsaw wedding rings from Benchmark for himself and Debbie. “At first she thought I was kidding, but after a couple of months of emails, she said, ‘Well, you’d better come down, then.’”
Although he’s lived in Alaska for the past several years, Dave grew up in Washington state and was ready to return. He and Debbie both consider their fellow chainsaw carvers an extended family, to the point that Debbie was given away as a bride by chainsaw carver Steve Backus, and the newlyweds exited the Legion Park gazebo, where they exchanged their vows, under two rows of raised and running chainsaws. The bride and groom even took turns cutting a wooden “wedding cake” with their own chainsaws.
“One of our wedding presents is five 10-foot cedar logs, and we can’t wait to use them,” Debbie said. “When I came up with the idea for the chainsaw salute, I had no idea how emotional I would get. These guys are my brothers and I respect them, so walking down that aisle was what made me lose it. I felt like a princess.”
“Walking under 30 zinging saws was pretty hot,” Dave laughed, his tie-dye wedding tank top matching Debbie’s tie-dye dress. The tie-dye colors are a tribute to the “Wolf Pack,” Dave and Debbie’s group of chainsaw carvers, some of whom came from as far away as Georgia to wish the couple well. “That sea of tie-dye is our way of getting each other’s art out there. Everyone in this craft learns from everyone else. We might only see each other six or 10 times a year, but we’re in constant contact on the Internet.”
Dave praised Debbie as a natural carver who fit in with the group right away. The Tremkos will be carving together from now on at their new studio, just north of the Arlington Dwayne Lane dealership on State Route 9. The Discovery Channel’s nine-part “Saw Dogs” TV series, for which the segments in Arlington were taped, isn’t set to air until next year.