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'The show must go on' for lumberjacks in Trenton, even during a pandemic

2020 marks the 25th year in business for the Great Maine Lumberjack Show in Trenton. With new measures, staff members have found a way to stay open during COVID-19.

TRENTON, MAINE, Maine — With bright blonde hair and contagious enthusiasm, Trenton's Timber Tina is hard to forget. For 25 years, she has been the owner of and a performer at Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show, a destination (nearby Mount Desert Island) for Mainers and tourists that's unlike most others in the state. Big plans were on the horizon to celebrate the milestone anniversary in 2020, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"I paid my business off a couple of years ago and had a great season last year. We were going to have musicians come here this summer, put on concerts -- and then March hit, and 'Bam'!" Tina expressed to NEWS CENTER Maine. 

Most of the entertainment industry has been put on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, including the four other lumberjack shows her family owns around the United States. Tina says she was determined to find a way to say 'the show must go on', though, in her 25th year -- as long as she could pay her bills and make a little bit of money. 

"With so many businesses being closed, we are outside," Tina emphasized, motioning to the acres of land, made up of fir and pine trees, around her. "I felt kind of like it was my civic duty to be open."

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She and her team decided to change the schedule, putting on shows at 1 p.m. only on Saturdays and Sundays. Seating is limited to allow for social distancing -- and Tina says the turnout was even better than expected. Every show has been sold out, and she says she feels more appreciated than ever by the people who come looking for some source of entertainment. She originally opened just to give Mainers something to do -- but then tourists from other states began to find out about her show, too, letting their friends know that it was the place to visit.

Tina also offers lessons to private groups every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those sessions are designed for family and friends already in the same social circles, as an opportunity to allow people to escape from the world for a while and virtually go back in time to learn about the unique sport. 

"We laugh through the whole show. The crowd cheers," Tina smiled. "They are not thinking about the world’s problems when they’re sitting in the bleachers when they’re at the lumberjack show."

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The dedication to her business has meant a lot to other staff members, too, like Thomas Lancaster. He's a professional timber sports athlete who was originally planning to manage one of Tina's brother's shows in Wisconsin. When it was canceled because of COVID-19, he decided to come to Maine to work with Tina, as a way to experience the Pine Tree State and continue to practice his craft.

"They shut the showdown that I was going to manage for the summer," Lancaster explained to NEWS CENTER Maine. "Kind of the silver lining is I got to finally come up and visit her show site and work with Tina again," he added.

In a slower-than-usual tourism season, Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show's appeal has been important to the surrounding community, Bar Harbor, too.

"This area is made up of so many different unique visitor experiences, but there’s nothing else like Timber Tina and the Great Maine Lumberjack Show here," Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, told NEWS CENTER Maine. "What a personality. It’s such a unique experience for this part of the country."

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The last shows of the season are happening this weekend, on Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4 at 1 p.m. Private lessons will be offered until Columbus Day weekend. Tina says she is hoping to have a big celebration for the 25th and 26th year anniversaries in 2021. To learn more about Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show, visit the website or Facebook page.