St. Stephen – In two weeks, saws will be singing at Ganong Nature Park.
The 24th Annual International Lumberjack Championship is slated to return to the Ganong Nature Park on July 7. Gates for the event will open at 10 a.m., with the competition beginning at 12 p.m.
Shelley Scott, park manager, said the event will host competitors from New Hampshire, Quebec, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and even Switzerland, with 35 competitors in total.
Scott said familiar faces will return, as well as fan favourites. The Cumberland family – brothers Ben and Nathan are slated to compete, along with their younger sister Katelyn. Rod Cumberland will also return as emcee, and partake in a couple of the events.
Last year’s winners, Burlin Nickerson and Kelly Bowness have entered. In addition, the reigning U.S. woman’s champion, Kendall Kunelius (new to the St. Stephen competition) and the three Canadian champions (Bowness, Janet Walker, and Caitlin Carroll) for the previous three years will square off in the event. St. Stephen will be the only event with the four lumberjills competing against each other.
The St. Stephen event is one stop on a circuit for the competitors through the Maritime Lumberjack Association, and Scott said the competitions will remain the same as last year – such as the obstacle pole buck, hot saw, axe throw, springboard chop, the ever-favourite kettle boil, as well as others.
Scott said during this year’s competition on the opposite side of the field, the park will host an adult and child washer toss tournament, with adult/child partners. The cost to participate is $20 per team, and cash prizes will be awarded to first and second place winners. Adult is considered to be over 18, with child participants to be registered as under 18.
Last year was the first year the Ganong Nature Park hosted the lumberjack competition, which Scott said was a successful transition.
“We had incredible comments from the competitors on the location, and in their eyes, everything went very smoothly for the first time of it being at a new spot.
“It’s amazing to see, only being our second year, and for me, being my second year involved with it, it’s just great to see it continue to have that growth and move forward.”
Cost for spectators to attend is $5 per vehicle, and Scott said activities for kids, such as free face painting, will also take place. Food vendors will also return this year.
Scott said she feels Ganong Nature Park is an ideal location for the event, and said she hopes to see it return annually.
“It’s the perfect location in this area for it, and (we want) to continue to make it grow year after year,” Scott said, adding the BIA (the organization formerly in charge of the competition) is still involved, assisting in the organization, set-up, and helping out the day of the event.
Scott also acknowledged major sponsors for the event this year are the Maritime Lumberjack Association, CCRTA, and Emera.
“Without them we wouldn’t be able to put it on.”
Scott said she is still welcoming volunteers for the day of the event, whether it’s for the competition itself, or for the activities around the lumberjack competition. Those who wish to volunteer can reach Scott at 467-9905 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It should be a really good show; the competitors will be there rain or shine.”