Welcome to Ilomantsi, Finland!

The focus of the bear sculpting competitions is chainsaw sculpting and the subject is the bear. The theme for 2022 is Bear Chair. The theme looks for functional sculptures, which can be used as resting places such as chairs or benches.

The Bear Sculpting Championship for chainsaw sculptors will be held on 12–13 August 2021 and the Speed Sculpting Competition on 14 August 2022.

The Bear Festival 2022 in Ilomantsi – Bear Chair

The 2022 Bear Festival will feature Bear Sculpting Championship competition  on Friday and Saturday, 12th and 13th August. The Bear Festival in Ilomantsi, in Eastern Finland, will take place in Katri Vala Kulttuurikeskus, Katri Valan tie 1 a and Kansallistalo yard, Yhtiöntie 8. The Speed Sculpting Competition will be on Sunday, 14th August.

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.

Contact information

The Association for Rural Culture and Education, regional Vaara-Karjala association

Bear sculpting championship competition:
Riitta Ryynänen, riitta.ryynanen@msl.fi, tel. +358 400 231 965

Bear Festival:
Maarit Hämäläinen-Koljonen, maarit.hamalainen-koljonen@msl.fi, tel. +358 40 579 5957

Meet the sculptors!

A total of 31 sculptors will participate in the Bear Sculpting Championships from Friday to Saturday 13- 14 August 2021, of which 23 will also participate in the Speed Sculpting Competition on Sunday 15 August. Up to 10 sculptors will compete in Ilomantsi for the first time.

Sculptors 2021