Clockwise from top left: Pete Ryan, Chris Foltz, Rocky LaRock and Jesse Toso are just four of more than a dozen well-known competitive chainsaw carvers coming into Hope for the 2019 World Class Chainsaw Carving Competition. The four-day main event runs Aug. 15 to Aug. 18, and smaller competitions take place each day. (File photos)

International carvers coming to Hope’s Memorial Park

Competition includes main chainsaw carving event, speed carving, salmon barbecue and more

The smell of sawdust and the whirring of chainsaws is going to permeate the air downtown Hope this week, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 18.

Carvers are there from around North America, and from right here in our own backyard. They begin at 8 a.m. this morning, with carving taking place in downtown Hope Memorial Park. The carvers will continue every day until 5 p.m., wrapping up at noon on Sunday. And while these carvers are a mainstay of the competition, there are plenty of other highlights to catch throughout the event.

A Latin salsa concert is planned in the park from 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. on Friday night, by the group Son de Todos.

Speed carving takes place at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday on Sunday, and the carvers have two hours to create a masterpiece. At 1:30 p.m., the items are auctioned off. The final auction of the weekend begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, after the pieces are judged. Judging this year are Dr. Rob Forde, Randy Swope and Shelley Empey.

This year will also feature a salmon barbecue with bannock, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there are plenty of activities to take in that day. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,, catch displays by the Hope Black Bear Committee, Fraser Regional Library’s entertainment and literacy car, Lili, and birdhouse painting for the kids. Also drop by the UFV booth for free books for kids.

And then, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Buy-Low Foods is hosting a kids’ plate toss.

This year’s carvers are Mark Colp, Pete Ryan, Shea Larking, Chris Foltz, Brandon Wilson, Steve Backus, Rocky LaRock, Liam Tromans, Ryan Villiers, Randy Gauthier, Marina Cole, Porter Foltz and Jesse Toso.

Carvers from around the world are set to attend the 2019 Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope, Aug. 15 to 18. The annual event has become a staple of the local community and being recognized on an international level, and that means the best of the best are heading to town.

Over the next few pages, you will read about the carvers and their craft. Beyond the sawdust and the chainsaws, these carvers are artists with a passion to create something meaningful. If you’ve ever watched them work before, you already know how physical the craft is. Take some time during the event to chat with the carvers and learn more about why they’ve delved into this art form.

Hope is passionate about carving, too.

In 1991, Hope began to define itself as the chainsaw carving capital of the world. An aging Douglas in Memorial Park was found to be suffering from root rot, which was followed by an ingenious idea to carve the remaining trunk into a work of art.

Shortly after, local residents and visitors alike fell in love with the work of Hope carvers Pete Ryan and Randy Swope — photographers from around the globe began documenting images of their work, quickly spreading the message that Hope was a big contender on the carving front.

Several internationally-renowned carvers have added their work to Hope’s inventory over the years. Take a stroll through town and see how many you can find.

The exceptional event is gaining a world class reputation among top carvers around the globe and in the industry, as Hope continues to secure its place as the chainsaw carving capital of the world.

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