Carve out time with the family at this weekend's 41st Annual Rochester Woodcarvers Show. Highlighting the work of 50 area woodcarvers, showgoers will have the opportunity to check out a variety of hand-carved items.

"The type of carving people tend to notice the most are the character carvings: people, animals," said Rich Garrett, vice chairman of the Rochester Woodcarvers Club.

"Another popular style you'll see at the show is chip carving. What you are looking for with that type of carving is more of a geometric pattern, maybe cut into a plate or a bowl," Garrett said. "There will also be a number of relief carvings, scenes carved into an object. There will be carvings for sale or you can vote for your favorite in the show's People's Choice Award."

In addition to looking at carvings, families will have the opportunity to see woodcarvers at work.

"Carvers will have their carvings displayed at tables around the room, and they are almost always willing to talk about their carvings," Garrett said, noting he has been carving for just two years and tends to carve characters and spoons. "The show is an excellent opportunity to see how it's done and to get your questions answered."

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Families also can pick up all of the supplies they need to get started carving.

"The basic items you'll need are a carving knife with a fixed blade and some wood," Garrett said. "You can spend over $100 for a knife if you are really determined, but a decent one will run you $18. As for wood, the two most common are basswood and butternut. With most woods, the grain makes it difficult to carve. These two woods have grains that make it easier."

Admission to the show is free.

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If you go...

  • What: Rochester Woodcarvers 41st Annual Show
  • Where: 4-H Building, Graham Park
  • When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • On the web: www.rochesterwoodcarvers.com

More about the wood carvers:

• Want to belong? Join the Rochester Woodcarvers Club for $10 per year. Open to youth and adults, meetings are held the third Saturday of the month at Zumbro Lutheran Church. Club membership details available online.

• Looking for feedback? Sign up for the Woodcarving -- Carve-In. Held Tuesdays through May 23, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Kellogg Middle School, participants are invited to bring wood-carving projects-in-progress to get feedback from classmates. Register through Community Ed, www.rochesterce.org, using class code 7572.231.

• Want a head start? Stop by the blanks table at the Woodcarvers Show and pick up a blank — a wood carving where the basic shape is carved out and all you have to do is the finishing touches.

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Family calendar

Very slowly

See how it runs at Oxbow Park's Maple Syruping, 1 p.m. Saturday. Families will meet in the Zollman Zoo nature center for a brief history of maple syruping in Minnesota. Then it's outside for a short hike to Oxbow's sugar bush (a cluster of maple trees) to tap a tree. The program ends with a sampling of Oxbow's maple syrup. Free admission to the zoo and to the program. Call 507-775-2451 with questions.

Need to know more?Oxbow Park's Zollman Zoo offers free admission year-round. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, families are encouraged to visit with the zoo's 30-plus, Minnesota native animals including otter, black bear and wolves. Go to www.co.olmsted.mn.usfor more information.

Available help

Reach the right answer at Rochester Public Library's Homework Help. Held 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., most Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the drop-in program pairs school-aged students with volunteer tutors. Free. No registration. Call 507-328-2303 with questions.

What else?The library offers free, kid-, tween-, teen- and family-friendly programs and activities year-round. Up next, it's Sit, Stay, Read (Monday), Discover Tuesday and Preschool Storytime (March 29). Go to www.rochesterpubliclibrary.orgfor a complete calendar of upcoming library events.

Spring camp

Spend your days off at Quarry Hill Nature Center's Spring Break Days Nature Camp–Pollination Celebration, 9 to 11:30 a.m. April 4, 5 and 6. Kids in kindergarten through grade 6 will spend their days learning about pollinators (birds, bees, butterflies), playing games, making creations, and eating pollinator-themed snacks. The cost is $50; $45 for Quarry Hill members. Registration is required by phone at 507-328-3950.

What else?Online registration is open for Quarry Hill's Summer Nature Camp, www.qhnc.org. Held June through August, nature-themed day camps (Catching Critters, Nature Photography, Animal Discoveries) are open to students ages 4 through high school. Scholarships and (limited) transportation available.

Group hug

Be part of a supportive environment at Mayo Clinic's Healing Adventures Camp. The free, one-day camp is held at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville on May 20, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is open to kids ages 5 to 18 who have experienced the death of a loved one. Space is limited, prior registration is required and must be turned in by May 5. Call Amy Stelpflug at 507-284-4527 for registration information.

What else?Healing Adventures Camp also offers an optional parent/guardian session, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. May 20. Free for parents or guardians of children attending camp; call Amy Stelpflug with questions.