The annual Logger's Jamboree in North Fork, taking place Saturday June 30 and Sunday July 1, will be bigger than ever this year
North Fork, located in the exact center of California, started as a logging community more than 100 years ago. The annual Logger's Jamboree celebrates that heritage.
"The Jamboree began in 1959 to raise money for our Recreation Center in which we use to provide a safe location for our free summer kids programs," said Scott Marsh, President of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce. "All we had was the logging industry, and it was our local loggers that decided we needed to raise some money to get a facility and some programs going for our youth."
The Jamboree is a contest of logging skills that include log rolling, log birling, choker setting, tree felling, hot saws, power saws, hand chopping, hand bucking and an axe throw. Contestants test their mettle in these traditional events that take skill, strength and the ability to wield large chainsaws.
The event isn't just a once in a year thing for many of the competitors, but a way of life. Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler has lived that lumberjack life, and has competed in, and won each event at least once since he started competing in 1959.
"It showcases North Fork and what logging is all about. It's also an exciting competition, showing how logging was done," he said.
The Woodchoppers Ball, a party that takes place the first evening of the two day event, is expanding this year as well, adding new elements of fun.
"As we looked to connect with more folks in our community, we realized we have some great local mountain and central valley bands. The bands' style all range in the blues, folk and Americana. They have the potential to bring more people together to enjoy our backyard, heritage and culture," said Marsh.
The first band starts at 6 p.m. Saturday with all events taking place at the Recreation Center.
Sat, June 30th @ the Recreation Center10:00 a.m. Pro-Am Logger Contest12:00 noon Horseshoe Pitching Contest5:00 p.m. Grand Parade (Downtown)6:00 p.m. BBQ and Little Logger & Princess Coronation (Town Hall)6:00 p.m. The Wood Chopper's Ball & Queen Coronation (Recreation Center)
Sun, July 1st @ the Recreation Center7-10:00 a.m. Lions Club Pancake Breakfast (Town Hall)10:00 a.m. Gates Open12:00 noon The National Anthem12:15 p.m. Logging Events Begin5:00 p.m. Closing Ceremonies
Tickets are available at the gate.Wood Chopper's Ball: $10.00 per person or $15.00 a couple 12 and under freeJamboree Events: $5.00 per person 12 and under free
For more information:Jessie Hutchens 559-877-4516 (Logging Events)Cathey Thornburg 559-676-7766 (General Information)Scott Marsh 559-877-6300 (Wood Chopper's Ball)
-- Story submitted by Jarrod Lyman, Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau Director of Media