Better with Bunyan: Forest Festival 2016

To find a healthy symbiotic forest-human relationship, one needs only to look as far as The Olympic Peninsula’s logging history. In celebration of this harmonious relationship between forests, culture, and industry, the 72nd annual Forest Festival is alighting on Hood Canal the first weekend of June 2016 with the commanding tagline: “We are timber strong!"

This happy harmony between wild forest and the prolific logging industry was not always so. Flash back to 72 years ago when forest fires were decimating the old-growth forests on which Hood Canal communities depended.

Enter the first annual Forest Festival in 1945—complete with a parade through downtown Shelton, a beauty pageant, a Paul Bunyan impersonator, and a slew of other events and activities.

This year, Mason County continues to honor its roots with another all-out forest-themed celebration. Come for the pancakes, and stay for the parade, the fireworks, and the packed events lineup. It’s one of Hood Canal’s flagship summer events, and it offers something for everyone.

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The first event to welcome festival-goers is the Paradise Amusements Carnival, which opens on Thursday at 4pm and features classic favorites like rides, games, and funnel cake galore.

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 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 parade will feature floats, dance teams, logging trucks, marching bands, classic cars and everything in between.

One of the most anticipated events of the weekend is the STIHL® Timbersports® Professional Western Qualifier on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 1-4pm at Loop Field. This is the only way professional lumberjacks from the western United States can qualify for the world championship in Germany this November. Take a peek at the list of athletes who will compete and videos from events past.

Spectators of the STIHL event at The Forest Festival will watch lumberjacks compete in hot saw, single buck, standing block chop, stock saw, underhand chop, and springboard chop. Sound like we’re speaking a foreign language? Read up on the event on the STIHL Disciplines page before the big day.

Photo by Cooper Studios

 

Interested in lending a hand? There are a number of volunteer opportunities from hand-building a float, to organizing the Grand Parade, and selling custom-made commemorative buttons.

There’s hardly a better way to experience Hood Canal than celebrating its rich history at the 2016 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. Kick off summer 2016 on the wild side of Washington!

Summer lodging is filling up fast! Sort out your accommodations now, and don’t forget to share your Forest Festival photos on social media with #wildsideWA!