/Freshman take on Tinglewood 
Carved tree at Orr Park. Photo by Carter Bibb.

Freshman take on Tinglewood 

By Carter Bibb  

Swerving around pedestrians, my bike swam through the crowd of people at Orr Park. Knowing relatively little about Tinglewood Festival, I admit to being at least somewhat surprised by the number of people that were walking towards the main entrance of the park. The Tinglewood Festival was focused on woodcarving, a subject which I would never have suspected to be popular. Alas, I never should have doubted for a second.  

The first thing you will notice are the woodcarvings in Orr Park itself. Scattered around the park are the famous tree carvings, dead trees whose trunks have been carved into. All of which were created by Tim Tingle , the namesake of the festival. From faces of old men to a beetle, now half-weathered away by the elements, you can find a menagerie of figures.  Fortunately—and I must admit that I happened upon their vendor almost entirely by coincidence—I had a chance to talk to Tim Tingle’s son.  

“[Tim Tingle] started these carvings in 1993 and it’s been thirty years. Someone on the art council here had a proposal, so it wasn’t necessarily his idea,” said Joseph Tingle   

The festival was, more or less, divided into three sections. Along the path set along the small creek were many stalls for vendors. Farther along were food trucks which, since I had arrived near lunchtime, were packed with hungry festival-goers. Near the food trucks was a band playing on a stage. And. finally, near the back was a line of antique cars. 

“[I first learned about Tinglewood] from all of the signs, the wristbands they hand out, all of the advertisements,” said UM student and mass communications major MK Bryant.  

“[Tinglewood] was first recommended to me by one of my teachers” said UM student and English and history major Emma Bailey.  

Many students, regardless of how long they had been coming, either heard about the festival through word of mouth or advertising from UM. My confusion about why so many people were coming to a woodcarving festival was lessening.  

Montevallo is a small town. It is even smaller once one takes into consideration that a good portion of its population is going to the university. As word travels fast at the university, and fun things to do at the beginning of the year are circulated among newcomers and returnees alike, it is no wonder this otherwise niche gathering would be so popular.  

Various types of wooden crafts were being sold by vendors—ranging from bowls, spoons, signs, statuettes and small wooden toys. They were, to be clear, all extremely cute. Unfortunately, I did not buy anything, but I did encounter some UM students who were carrying their purchases with them.  

As I continued to wander around the festival, I encountered a group of UM students. Asking, “Have you ever bought anything at Tinglewood,” seemed unneeded for both fine arts major Alex Armer and theatre major Justin Lewis. Lewis was carrying a medium sized owl statue. Armer’s purchase was a small toy car. Armer graciously pointed the way to where she had acquired her toy car. I thanked them all and set off to talk to some of the vendors that populated the packed path.  

On my adventure, I had talked to Sheila Maybee, of Chief’s Wood Crafts, based in Gadsden, had some interesting insights into her husband’s wooden toy carving business.  

“The wooden toys are actually coming back. The kids are starting to like the wooden toys again,” said Maybee.  

Sitting on a hill overlooking the festival, I took a moment to take everything in. There was an energy in the air, playful energy, of kids, adults and college students alike having a good time.

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