Bear Festival

Bear Festival


The fifth Bear Festival in Ilomantsi 16.-18.8.2018

The theme of the fifth Bear Festival is Wild Nature. The 2018 Bear Festival will feature two Bear Sculpting Championship competitions.  On Thursday and Friday, 16 and 17 August, there will be a two-day competition, and on Saturday, 18 August, there will be an speed sculpting competition. The sculptors will describe their own relationship with wild nature. Does wild nature have any place in a world where urbanisation is spreading? Can wild nature still be found?

The Bear Festival is arranged by The Association for Rural Culture and Education along with regional Vaara-Karjala association, the Ilomantsi municipality and local businesses and associations.

A land of a thousand bears

Sculpting wood is the most natural form of self-expression among Finnish self-taught artists; the chainsaw is the most common instrument and the bear is the best-loved of all subjects. This is the foundation for the Bear Festival.

We would like to turn Ilomantsi into a land of a thousand bears in the coming years. It will be a sculpture park built along the village roads, a display of different sculpting styles that attracts visitors from near and far. In a land of a thousand bears, the mythical realm of the forest’s king meets man’s cultural environment.

The Wild Food Festival

The Bear Festival visitors will be able to enjoy offerings from the Wild Food Festival, to be held at the same time in Ilomantsi. On Saturday, 18 August you can explore the best flavours the North Karelian nature has to offer. The best wild foods will be selected and awarded at the festival. The Wild Food Festival is arranged by LAG Karelian Hills LEADER and Woman the Hunter -project. 

Contact information

Bear Festival:
the Association for Rural Culture and Education, regional Vaara-Karjala association
Maarit Hämäläinen-Koljonen, maarit.hamalainen-koljonen(at), tel. +358 40 579 5957

Bear sculpting championship competition:
the Association for Rural Culture and Education
Raija Kallioinen, raija.kallioinen(at), tel. +358 40 5636 876

Wild Food Festival:
LAG Karelian Hills LEADER
Hannele Pyykkö, manager, hannele.pyykko(at), tel. +358 40 1044 905

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