NORTH FORK – The tradition continues July 6 and 7 as the 54th annual Mid Sierra Loggers Jamboree rolls into North Fork.
This annual competition celebrates the past and keeps the traditions alive, pitting amateur and professional loggers against each other in categories such as axe throwing, hot saws, log rolling and many others.
“It’s a great event that celebrates North Fork’s heritage and what was the way of life here for so many years,” said Scott Marsh, president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce.
Popular events like the hot saw competition have competitors handling huge chainsaws attempting to cut a slice from a large log as quickly as possible. In the tree-felling competition, loggers cut down logs as tall as trees, directing their fall to hit a specific spot. Each competition takes strength, skill and stamina.
Probably the most popular event is the axe throw, where competitors do their best to hit a round of wood dead-center, puncturing a beer can embeded in the center that has been shaken up to explode when the axe strikes it.
While each of the events has roots in the past, the competitors reflect modern times as well, with events for both men and women.
“It’s really great seeing co-ed teams in various events, and female competitors too,” said Marsh.
This year’s theme for the Jamboree is “From Tree to You,” which is the motto at Goodwin Lumber, a business that has been a mainstay in North Fork since it opened in 1941.
Founder Vince Goodwin, who passed away in February, is being honored this year at the Jamboree. Vince’s son Ken and his wife Marcia, current owners of the lumber company, have been chosen as Grand Marshals.
Saturday starts off with a special presentation by local musician Jean Butterfield. At about 9:45 a.m., just before the start of the Pro-Am competitions, Jean will sing an original song she wrote reflecting on the logging mill. Accompanying her on the djembe drum will be Scott Stouder of Oakhurst. The song, called “Window of Time,” is a ballad about the early days of the logging mill in North Fork.
At noon, there will a horseshoe competition, and the North Fork Main Street Loggers Jamboree Parade steps off at 5 p.m. downtown.
Then it’s off to the Town Hall for a Tri-Tip dinner. Adults $10, kids $5. The winners of the Lil Princess and Lil Logger will be announced.
At 8:30 p.m. the band Wheelhouse will provide the dancing music at the Woodchoppers Ball back at the Rec Center, where the Jamboree Queen will be crowned. Beer and wine will be available.
On Sunday, the much-anticipated and always popular Lions Club pancake breakfast will be served up at the Town Hall from 7 to 10 a.m.
The gates at the Rec Center open at 10 a.m. when the early birds will start arriving to stake out a spot in the shade. At noon, Sugar Pine kicks off the day’s activities with the singing of the national anthem, and the Professional Competition gets underway with events like log rolling, the axe throw and the hot saw competition.
Near the end of the day, the North Fork Boosters will announce the winners of the raffle prizes –
1st Prize – $1,000 Cash
2nd Prize – $200 Vacation package
3rd Prize – $50 in lottery tickets!
Event and raffle tickets can be purchased through our Jamboree Queen Contestants, in the town of North Fork at local businesses or at the gate. Presale tickets are $2 and $5 at the gate.
For more information visit the Boosters’ website at www.northforkboosters.org
When you see Paul Bunyan’s footsteps painted in the roadway, just follow them to the North Fork Recreation Center, at 33507 Recreation Road 230, where you’ll find the logging competition, along with the beer booth, food and merchandise vendors, and a big beautiful swimming hole in Willow Creek.
For more information, contact the North Fork Visitors Center at 559-877-2410 or Cathey Thornburg at 559-676-7766.