Crafting A Creation: The largest animated wood carving in North - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Crafting A Creation: The largest animated wood carving in North America

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GROVE CITY, Pennsylvania - Just one mile east of the Grove City Outlets, tucked away inside the Slovak Folk Crafts shop, is a hidden treasure.

It's believed to be the largest animated wood-carving in North America, measuring 17 feet wide and eight feet high.

It took nearly two and a half years to build, and was shipped here by boat in five separate sections.

This work of art has 82 moving figures, and is powered in a most unusual way, according to shop owner Dave Dayton.

"It's powered by windshield wiper motors for Volvo trucks," Dayton says.

Every scene of this animated wood-carving tells a real story of folk life in Slovakia.

Something that captures the interest and curiosity of young and old alike, as well as people from all 50 states and nearly every province in Canada.

Bernadine Thompson and her husband Ron Thompson, from Naples, Florida, appear captivated by the work of art that spans a portion of the room.

"I've never seen anything like it. You can't put into words, you can't see a picture of it. You have to see it. It's just hard to believe that this was made by hand, and it's animated and it's beautiful," Bernadine Thompson said.

What's crafted is a vision and dream of shop owners Dave Dayton and his wife Anne Dayton.

They are not of Slovakian heritage. But have traveled there and have come to love the industrious people and the scenic views.

That is exactly why they commissioned three woodcarvers from Slovakia, including an 81-year-old master woodcarver, to design and build what they've envisioned.

"It represents folk like in Slovakia as it existed there for many generations, and we asked them to lay this out as a map of Slovakia because we have a lot of people that come in here that have Slovak ancestors," Dave Dayton says. "And some of them would like to know more about the country where their family came from.

"Slovakia is very near and dear to our hearts, partially because in some ways it's very similar to Pennsylvania. The highest Slovaks in the United States are in the state of Pennsylvania. It's shaped similar to Pennsylvania," says Anne Dayton.

The couple says their animated wood-carving has done exactly what they wanted it to do, educate people in the Valley about a country in central Europe.

"To let people here understand a little better, the talent and creativity of the people over there, and we think it does that in a remarkable way," says Dave Dayton.

A remarkable work of art, carved out to create a history lesson on a land in some ways not so different from our own.

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