Bear Festival

Bear Festival

The Bear Festival 2020 Freestyle

Welcome to Ilomantsi, Finland!

The Bear Sculpting Championship 13–14 August 2020

The theme of the 2020 Bear Sculpting Championship is Freestyle. The sculptors are challenged to use their imagination to combine inventiveness with technical skills. The chainsaw and the bear are still the core of the competition, but this time there are no limits to the surface treatment of the sculptures.


Registration for the competition 2020 has ended.

The 2020 Bear Festival will feature two Bear Sculpting Championship competitions:

  • On Thursday and Friday, 13 and 14 August, there will be a two-day competition.
  • On Saturday, 15 August, there will be an speed sculpting competition.

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 Friday and Saturday, 1415 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. 

Contact information

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

Bear sculpting championship competition:
the Association for Rural Culture and Education
Raija Kallioinen,, 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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