Your garage can wait to be cleaned, hold off on washing the car, forget about mowing the lawn or making any other plans for the last Saturday and Sunday of September! Weekends can be spent doing many things, but few are more entertaining than The Haudenosaunee Wood Lacrosse Stick Expo in upstate New York.
Last year was the first year for the expo, and it was a smash hit. As an avid follower of wood lacrosse stick making, and owner of www.woodlacrossesticks.com, I can say with authority that this is, without a doubt, the most exposure that one can hope to obtain when it comes to this Native American art form.
When I went to last year’s inaugural event, I was impressed by not only the beauty of the art work, but also by the organization and entertainment the event had to offer. Authentic native food was available in portion sizes made for a delicious challenge. Native dancers performed together for the crowd. I even got to relax in the grass, leaned back against my pack, eating an apple, as I watched a full field master’s game played with a strict “wooden stick only” rule. Speeches were given by elders, and the whole event was framed by vendor booths on one side, and the Onondaga Lake on the other.
The Thompson family was giving lessons and playing with the children. With their wooden lacrosse sticks in hand, the brothers were graciously giving fans their time and attention, and even taking shots on a brave young goalie. This year there is an even larger effort for this predominant lacrosse family to educate attendees. For those brave enough, there will also be an opportunity to play in an all wood stick game, if you dare to go toe to toe with those who have mastered such stick skills. I am personally eager to get beat up, and possibly embarrassed at this year’s expo. I missed my chance last year, and I will not miss it again. All who wish to participate in the Thompson Camp or the wooden lacrosse stick game can find a link at the bottom of the article.
The Wood Lacrosse Stick Expo offers enthusiasts an opportunity to meet the best stick makers in the world, including the “Michael Jordan” of wood lacrosse stick makers, Alf Jacques. Jack Johnson and many other talented stick makers will also be in attendance. Attendees will have a chance to speak with these skilled craftsmen, as well as purchase some of their pieces. If you wish to get your hands on a stick, my suggestion to you is to get there as early as you can, take one lap, make a decision and purchase as fast as possible. You may be left disappointed and empty handed if you do not act quickly.
Something that I would highly suggest to anyone thinking of attending this event would be to catch one of Alf Jacques demonstrations. He is by far the best stick maker alive today, and he is generous with his knowledge. One is likely to see him work on his wood horse and pull his draw knife while he explains his precise movements. It is an opportunity not to be missed, and if you have the chance to get one of his sticks, you will have attained the rarest and most coveted lacrosse stick that has been produced in the last 100 years. I will say that I have spoken with him regarding the event, and he informed me that if he does bring any for sale, it will be a slim inventory as he has many back logged orders to fill.
If you are a parent looking to bond with your child or a child looking to annoy your parents into doing something – than this is it. I have been to every lacrosse based event from the National Lacrosse Convention, NCAA final four, Major League Lacrosse Championship, and I have sponsored, spoken, and spectated at all of them. I can say hands down that last year’s Wooden Lacrosse Stick Expo was my favorite. It is different, interesting, and inspirational.