64th North Star Expo Returns to Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Minnesota’s biggest logging equipment show is returning to Itasca County!

The 64th Annual North Star Expo opens Friday September 15th at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids.  Admission to the two-day event is free.  The Expo features more than 100 exhibitors, including over $15 million in the latest logging, trucking, and sawmill equipment and technology. Stop by our booth and say hello!

In addition, the North Star Expo is partnering with a variety of organizations, including Log-A-Load For Kids on a live harvest during the event, with all proceeds going to benefit Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in the Twin Cities.

Log-A-Load For Kids is a nationwide campaign through which loggers and other forest industry professionals donate the value of a load of logs, or any amount they can, to help make hospital stays easier for children. The generous donations of stumpage, equipment use, labor, and trucking brings monetary support that enables Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in the Twin Cities to help Minnesota children who have disabilities.  Nationwide, Log-A-Load for Kids raises more than $2 million each year through golf tournaments, fishing events, dinners, and donations of truckloads of logs.

As a result of the harvest, the Expo and Log-A-Load are partnering with a coalition of groups to bring more than 100 high school-aged students to the event.  Once there, kids will learn about a variety of topics, including logging, sustainable forestry practices, jobs available in the industry, and the industry’s economic impact in our state.  Among those involved in this coalition are the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the regional economic development organization APEX, the Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training, and the Applied Learning Institute, which strives to enhance technical education in northeastern Minnesota.

Loggers, vendors, and timber industry representatives from Minnesota and around the Upper Midwest will attend these events, as well as lawmakers, policy makers, and other stakeholders from around the state, making the Expo “the Great Minnesota Logging Get-together.”

“We’re thrilled to be back in Grand Rapids,” said Ray Higgins of the Minnesota Timber Producers Association.  “The Itasca County Fairgrounds is a beautiful, picturesque setting for our event, with all of the tall pine trees.  The folks in Grand Rapids always roll out the red carpet for us.  And with the live harvest benefiting the Log-A-Load program, it will truly be a special weekend for the logging community in our state.

The 2017 Expo will not only include equipment displays from the world’s top manufacturers, but also contests that allow participants to show off their skills and knowledge of the logging business, including the Loader and Master Loader Contests.  Other competitions include Biggest Cookie, and “Guess the Weight.”  .

The Minnesota Timber Producers Association is the state’s largest trade organization that represents loggers, truckers, sawmills, and allied businesses.  The North Star Expo runs from 9AM to 5pm on Friday the 16th, and continues on Saturday September 17th from 9am until 2pm on Saturday.



Friday, September 15th

9:00 am-5:00 pm:   Equipment Displays Open

9:30 am:                       Display Contest Judging

10:00 am-3:00 pm:   Log-A-Load Harvest

10:00 am-11:00 am:   Loader Contest (sign up at site)

11:00 am-2:00 pm:   High school students from throughout the region tour the harvest

11:30 am-12:30 pm:   Celebrity/Media Loader Contest

12:30 pm-3:00 pm:   Loader Contest (sign up at site)

5:00 pm:                     Equipment displays close

5:00 pm:                     Cash Bar Social Hour begins

6:00 pm:                     Dinner and Door Prizes- Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que

Saturday, September 16th

7:00 am-9:00 am:  Free Pancake Breakfast (Sponsored by Nortrax)

9:00 am-2:00 pm:  Equipment displays open

9:00 am-11:00 am:  Loader Contest (sign up at site)

10:00 am-2:00 pm:  Log-A-Load Harvest

11:30 am:                     Coloring contest winners announced

1:00 pm:                     Winners announced for Loader, Master Loader, and Best Load contests

1:30 pm:                     Winners announced for various contests

2:00 pm:                     Equipment displays close


Guess the Weight – Guess the weight of a fully loaded truck

Wood Identification – See how many tree species you can identify

Loader – Test your skills against the clock

Masters Division Loader – Loader contest for those 50 and over – sign up at site

Best Load – Come and see the Best Loads of Wood on Display

Big Cookie– Enter to see if your wood cookie is the biggest of its species.


64th North Star Expo Returns to Grand Rapids, Minnesota