Lumberjax to bring axe throwing to Under the Harvest Moon Festival

Published 12:58 pm Friday, October 8, 2021

DOWAGIAC — One Berrien County business may not have an axe to grind this weekend at this Weekend’s Under the Harvest Moon Festival, but it certainly will have an axe to throw.

Lumberjax Urban Axe Throwing, which opened its axe throwing sports complex in Saint Joseph last year, is set to bring its new NomadJax portable axe throwing trailer to Under the Harvest Moon Festival for the first time this Saturday at Beckwith Park, downtown Dowagiac.

Owner and founder Austin Bock said he is excited to bring his new mobile unit to the festival and teach some new faces about the sport of axe throwing, with safety at the forefront.

“Everybody on Saturday will be learning two-handed,” Bock said. “We found that safety-wise, learning two handed is the safest route. … Two-hand throwing removes all that ability to go crazy with the axe, and it limits the ability for people to break their wrist.”

In addition to safety, Bock said teaching and coaching are an important part of the business.

“We have at least two coaches with the trailer at all times,” he said. “That is something that we pride ourselves on. Our coaches are not just people that need the job, they are really passionate about the sport. They know how to break down some of these throws, and really correct it if they see someone throwing improperly.”

The NomadJax trailer will charge $5 for 10 throws, with two practice throws where the Lumberjax coaches will help participants on the practice throws.

“We usually see people sticking the target within three to five throws,” Bock said. “Because of the way we coach, we break down what’s most important in the throws.”

In addition to his passion for axe throwing, Bock said he is excited to expand the reach of his business to some new faces in the southwest Michigan area.

“Being able to take what we do here and bring it out a little further wherever we can, gives us a little bit more of a reach so that people in the wintertime looking for something to do, they can come back here [to Saint Joseph],” he said. “It’s just such a great community of people in this sport.”

For safety reasons, the trailer will be limited to ages 10 and up, but Bock said he has seen people aged as young as six and as old as 96 hit the target.

“Anybody that wants to relieve some stress, have some fun and try something new, come on down,” Bock said.

Vickie Phillipson, chamber of commerce program director and chairman of Under the Harvest Moon Festival, said she is thrilled to bring Lumberjax to the festival.

“Festival goers will be able to try their hand at this up-and-coming new sport,” said Phillipson, adding that the Dowagiac Conservation Club will host Youth Archery also at Beckwith Park.  “Together, these two activities will provide families with a unique and fun experience, they may not otherwise have.”

The fall festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and brings together collectors of antique farm tractors, new farm implements, a marketplace of Michigan-grown produce, autumn mums, handmade products, music and dance, plus family activities throughout the day.

Hosted by the chamber of commerce, the fall event is celebrating its 10th year.

Corporate and in-kind sponsors of the festival include Creative Vinyl Signs, Dowagiac Area History Museum, Dussel’s Farm Market, Forest Glen Assisted Living, Hale’s Hardware, J&H Oil Company, Leader Publications, Marion Magnolia Farms, Mennel Milling Co. of Michigan, Southwestern Michigan College Athletics, U.S. Lumber Company, Williams A-1 Expert Tree Service and Wright Farms’ Market.