A Paul Bunyan-sized Party: Forest Festival 2015

The lively and lucrative logging industry is as closely tied to the history of Hood Canal as a birch tree’s roots to their Shelton soil. In celebration of this harmonious relationship between forests, culture and industry, the 71st annual Forest Festival will be held the last weekend in May of 2015.

Flashback to the Olympic Peninsula 71 years ago. To raise awareness of the destructive fires ripping through acres of the community’s most precious resource, there seemed to be only one man for the job. Enter Paul Bunyan.

That spring, the first Forest Festival kicked off with a pageant, a Paul Bunyan impersonator and various other events and activities. The festivities, centered on fire prevention, ended up being wildly successful. An event poster from 1964 read, “Fire losses in Mason County averaged 4000 acres a year for 20 years before the Forest Festival was born in 1945. Since then, fire has scorched an average of only 52 acres annually.” 

 

This year, Mason County continues to honor its roots with an all out four-day event in Shelton, WA featuring many of the same events and activities celebrated that spring day of 1945. Come for the pancake breakfast, stay for the fireworks, and enjoy endless fun for the entire weekend!

For the go-getters, the Goldsborough Creek Run/Walk/Jog begins Saturday morning. The 7-mile loop meanders though Shelton’s beautiful farming community and ends on the parade route in front of the Post Office in the heart of the action. The finish of the run sets off the Paul Bunyan grand parade through downtown Shelton, the main event of the Forest Festival. Expected to be as spectacular as ever, the Honor Guard from the USS Nimitz will be leading off the parade, followed by floats, dance teams, logging trucks, marching bands, classic cars and everything in between.

The 71st Annual Paul Bunyan Parade takes place on Saturday, May 30 at 11AM.

The 71st Annual Paul Bunyan Parade takes place on Saturday, May 30 at 11AM.

Later in the afternoon on Saturday, STIHL Timbersports returns to hold the Western Regional Qualifier at Loop Field. This event is one of a nationwide series that assembles lumberjacks from around the globe to compete in a variety of disciplines based on traditional logging skills. These include Hot Saw, Single Buck, Springboard Chop, Underhand Chop and more. Winners from this event will have a chance to advance to the World Championship held in New York City.

The Mason County Forest Festival is hosting the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Western Regional Qualifier on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

The Mason County Forest Festival is hosting the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Western Regional Qualifier on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

A carnival with downhome food, giggle-inducing rides, games, a raffle and more will provide a colorful background for the weekend festivities. Who doesn't want to relieve long childhood summer nights on a tilt-a-whirl?

Volunteer opportunities are numerous and greatly appreciated. Go behind the scenes and get hands-on!

There’s hardly a better way to experience Hood Canal than celebrating its rich history at the 2015 Forest Festival. With endless ways to participate and events to put a smile of the surliest of faces, a weekend in Shelton is the ideal way to spend some time with family and friends and an excellent way to kick off a summer full of adventure.

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