Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Forest Fest set for Oct. 5

Amanda Byrd leaps off the log during the birling event in the 2012 Forest Fest.
The rich history of forestry and logging will be recognized Saturday, Oct. 5 at the 16th annual Farthest North Forest Sports Festival.

Competitors will use lumberjack skills that were necessary in the forest in days gone by and some that are still useful today. There is no entry fee and any adults are welcome to compete; it's not necessary to be Paul Bunyan, just a sense of fun and a little bit of athleticism will be helpful.

Events include log rolling, bow saw and crosscut sawing, ax throwing at the morning events at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm. In the afternoon at Ballaine Lake off Farmers Loop, campfire building and birling (staying upright on a log in the lake) will be the focus.

People may compete as individuals or teams of four to six. At the end of the day, the "Bull of the Woods" and the "Belle of the Woods" will be announced.

Faculty members and students in the Department of Forest Sciences at UAF developed the competition as a way to commemorate old-fashioned forest festivals. High-technology tools are the norm for today's forest professions and the festival pays tribute to a time when traditional woods activities were the basis for work and play, and even survival.

The Forest Fest begins at 10 a.m. at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm fields (across from the Georgeson Botanical Garden). At 1 p.m., the games move to Ballaine Lake. A warming fire and hot drinks will be available at the lake. Participants are advised to dress warmly. If competing in the birling, a towel and change of clothes would be wise.

The festival is sponsored by the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. Herbert Baxter generously donated the logs for the competition.

Contact Professor John Yarie for more information.
Campfire building is a popular event at the Forest Fest.

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