Welcome to Ilomantsi, Finland!

The focus of the bear sculpting competitions is chainsaw sculpting and the subject is the bear. The theme for 2023 is Power Bear.

The Bear Sculpting Championship for chainsaw sculptors will be held on 10–11 August 2023 and the Speed Sculpting Competition on 12 August 2023.

The Bear Festival 2023 in Ilomantsi – Power Bear

The 2023 Bear Festival will feature Bear Sculpting Championship competition  on Thursday and Friday, 10th and 11th 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 Saturday, 12th 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

Bear Festival’s competition manager Timo Reko, MSL, +358 50 322 6798, timo.reko@msl.fi

Cultural producer Raija Kallioinen, MSL, +358 40 563 6876, raija.kallioinen@msl.fi

Media contacts Merja Karjalainen, MSL, +358 40 167 6887, merja.karjalainen@msl.fi