Dec 23, 2012

Record number of toys entered in Ansonia Lumber’s annual contest

ANSONIA – Scott Phillips, of the PBS television program American Woodshop, had difficulty picking the winner of the 19th annual Ansonia Lumber Toy Contest. The year’s contest set new records with 20 exhibitors and 43 projects to choose from. Harry Niswonger, who recently celebrated his 88th birthday, was chosen as the winner.

Niswonger created a beautiful working crane. The intricate detail was evident throughout the toy including each piece of the wheel track made by hand.

Some of the other toys created for the contest included doll houses, puzzles, sled, tractor, art easel, spinning tops, whistles and a combination ball bearing cannon/basketball trebuchet/toy box. All of the toys were handcrafted out of wood by local artisans. Mitch McCabe, coordinator for Ansonia Lumber, said, “The quality keeps getting better and the hours that go into these toys is unbelievable.”

Phillips pointed out this is the only contest he judges. He noted his criteria for judging is simple, “What present would a boy run to and a girl turn to?” He told the contestants, “You’ve created memories that are life changers.”

In addition to Niswonger, this year’s winners were Neil Pleiman, second place, doll house; John Burnett, third place, combination ball bearing cannon/basketball trebuchet/toy box; Neal Burns, fourth place, collection of work including tops, whistles and tractors; and Harold Alley, fifth place, sled. In addition to the prizes given by Ansonia Lumber, Phillips brought a box of chocolates from his wife, Susie, to give as an honorable mention prize. The winner was Carl Robison for his combine tractor.

All of the toys were given to Darke County Toys for Tots and will be placed in homes of local children.
Scott Phillips discusses one of the toys during the judging. (Ryan Berry photo) 
The winners of the 19th annual Ansonia Lumber Company’s Wooden Toys Contest are shown with Scott Phillips - (front row) Harry Niswonger, Harold Alley, John Burnett, (back row) Neil Pleiman, Phillips, Carl Robison and Neal Burns. (Ryan Berry photo) 


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