Timberfest Returns

By Duncan A. Kennedy

LOYALTON – For the first time since 2000, Sierra Timberfest will be returning to Loyalton this Saturday, May 14th.

This event, a fixture of Loyalton life every year during the 1990s. Timberfest was originally organized as a protest to the slow strangulation of the timber industry by federal injunctions and environmental regulations, but it also served as a way to keep a sense of community going while the town reeled from the declining employment in the timber industry.

The original Timberfest featured a truck parade, logging show, street fair, and a rib cookoff (the inspiration for the birth of the annual Sierra County tradition seen every March – the Great Yuba Pass Chili Cook-Off).

Sadly, after nearly ten years of annual celebration, Timberfest went away the same year the Sierra Pacific Industries opted to close their Loyalton mill, an event sending the town into a downward spiral from which they have still yet to fully recover.

However, now, twenty-two years later, the event has returned thanks to the sponsorship of the Eastern Sierra Valley Chamber of Commerce and CTL Forest Management (the new owners of the Loyalton Sawmill and the Golden West Saloon and Hotel) and the tireless work of community organizers such as Supervisor Terry LeBlanc.

This year’s event will feature the traditional truck parade plus food sales, and, most notably, an American Lumberjack Association (ALA) sanctioned logging sports event. Competiti events include men’s and women’s classes for Underhand Chop, Single Block Chop and Singlebuck, a Choker Race, an Axe Throw, and all events will feature prize money for first through fifth places. As this is an ALA event, all competitors will have to either be ALA members or sign up as one-time show members to participate. The Golden West will provide open hotel space for up to a dozen out-of-town competitors, with others having to seek lodgings elsewhere.

The Logger’s Parade starts at 10:00 AM on the 14th, and the Logging Competition starts at 11:00 AM. All competitors must be at the 9:00 AM contestant’s meeting to participate. For further information on the revival of this historic event, visit sierratimberfest.com. See you there!

Leave a Reply