Bear Festival

Programme in English

Welcome to GoBearGo!
The sixth Bear Festival in Ilomantsi 15.–17.8.2019

The Bear Festival will open at Ilomantsi Market Square at 11:30 on Thursday 15 August. The two-day Bear Sculpting Championship competition will take place at seven different sites in Ilomantsi town centre on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 August, while the speed sculpting competition will be held between 11:00–13:00 on Saturday 17 August at Katri Vala Cultural Centre.

The theme of this year’s Bear Festival is GoBearGo. The programme will include a lot of events related to movement, exercise, the environment and well-being.

There will be a number of events for the whole family on Thursday: theatre performances at Kansallistalo, the Ilolla! event in Piirolan Piha, featuring handicrafts workshops, a pancake bar as well as Teatteri-Traktori’s Peter Pan show with music and dance, and the traditional Karelian game that everyone can take part in, the Bear and Bees, on the Market Square.

Environmental and climate entrepreneurship of the future will be discussed at the Puusta on moneksi event, which will be held on the Market Square from 15:00–17:00 on Thursday. The topics will include the use in timber for new applications, such as constructions and the building industry, and the business opportunities offered by the various uses of small-dimensioned wood.

Friday’s programme will include control points for children and teenagers to find, health advice on the Market Square and a public lecture at the town hall on how nature and fitness can enhance well-being. The parishes will organise a religious music event, and there will be lectures at Parppeinvaara Bardic Village on the theme ‘The deep breath of the big lake’, together with discussions on the relationship between the human mind and nature. Friday’s events will culminate at the restaurant Parppeinpirtti with the Bear Fest and the Bear Fires, a banquet with a programme that introduces today’s audiences to old folk songs and poems related to bear rituals.

The festival programme will feature new events: two magnificent Blueberry Hill Festival concerts to be held at Kino Mantsi on Thursday and Friday night.

The entry to almost all of the festival’s events is free.

The Wild Food Festival will take place over two days this year on 16 and 17 August, and will be held along Kalevalantie in Ilomantsi town centre.

More detailed information about the programme in Finnish.


Programme in year 2018

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 Saturday, 18 August, there will be an speed sculpting competition. The two-day competition is held at the center of Ilomantsi and speed sculpting at Katri Vala Culture Center, Katri Valantie 1. The road there is closed on Saturday, a street train is bringing people from Market place to Katri Vala and back. The Info tent across the Market place is open from 10-18 on Thursday and 9-18 on Friday, on Saturday it is the venue for award ceremonies. There you can buy Festival T-shirts and get more info about the programme.

Thursday, 16.8.2018
11:30                Opening at the Market place
12-18                Sculptors at work, Championship competition
Detailed information coming soon.

Friday, 17.8.2018

9-17                  Sculptors at work, Championship competition
17                      Family event in Piirolan piha
18                      Lectures in Parppeinvaara
20                     Bear Fires in Parppeinvaara
Detailed information coming soon!

Saturday, 18.8.2018

9.00                  Bear Arena is opening
11-13                 Speed sculpting competition
13.15-13.45      Public voting for the best works
15.00                Awards from the both sculpting competitions at the Market place
Detailed information coming soon!

Wild Food Festival
Saturday 18 August 2018

The Bear Festival visitors will also be able to enjoy offerings from the Wild Food Festival on Saturday, 18 August, organized by LAG Karelian Hills LEADER. The festival’s idea is to increase the awareness of how to use different kind of products which are growing in the nature. You can buy and taste different kinds of food made from wild food (lake fish, berries, mushrooms, wild herbs etc.) from the pop-up restaurants. There´s also a competition for the wild food cooking, and the best wild foods will be selected and awarded at the festival.

10:00 Pop up -restaurants open, welcome to do some tasty shopping!
15.00  Awards are given on the Market place of Ilomantsi
More information coming soon!


The Bear Festival is arranged by The Association for Rural Culture and Education with its regional association for Vaara-Karjala, Ilomantsi municipality and local businesses and associations. The Bear Festival is open for everyone and its happenings are free.

The Wild Food Festival is arranged by the LAG Karelian Hills LEADER.