Forestry Festival Celebrates 40 years


Broken Bow - This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of Oklahoma’s longest running festivals; the Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest will take place June 15-17 at Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

Owa-Chito is a combination of Choctaw words that mean a “big, happy hunting party.” In the mid-1800s, Choctaw families would gather men, women and children and go into the forests and mountains to have fun and enjoy themselves in the great outdoors. The Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest is held each year so that the community and visitors can come together and celebrate the heritage and culture of the people of this area.

Forestry competitions showcase the spirit and heritage of the forest and are a very popular event of the festival. This competition draws men and women who make their living from the woods. Contests include double buck sawing, ax throwing, jack-n-jill crosscut, as well as other forestry events. Each year, a “Bull of the Woods” winner is selected from the field and this year a new award will be presented to the “Crew of the Woods.”

Get ready for chainsaws, log rolling and more as The All American Lumberjack Show perform live. These professional lumberjacks will show off their skills in several areas including: Cross-cut sawing; Spring Board Tree-Topping; Stock Saw; Quick Carve and water events including the Boom Run and Log Rolling. You may have seen this event on TV, but now is your chance to see it live and possibly participate.

The very popular Owa-Chito Art Show will kick-off the festival with a featured artist reception Thursday, June 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Forest Heritage Center Museum. The Art Show contains over 300 works of art entered by over 100 artists within the four state areas of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana and those attending the reception will get a sneak-peek of the artwork, a premier buying opportunity and the chance to meet this year’s featured artist, Stephen G. Weaver. Educated as a geologist, Steve combines his scientific knowledge with his photographic eye to produce stunning images that capture the beauty, structure and composition of the earth.

“We are honored to have such an outstanding photographer featured at the Art Show this year” said Forest Heritage Center director, Doug Zook. “I encourage everyone to come out Thursday, June 7th to meet the artist and take this opportunity to purchase some of the finest original artwork available.”

The Art Show is open June 8th - 16th from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and June 17th from 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. To view the schedule of events for the Festival of the Forest weekend, visit forestry.ok.gov or for more information contact 580-494-6497.



   

Dandy Byers and Dan McBride compete in the Jack-n-Jill crosscut saw competition during the Kiamichi Owa Chito Festival of the Forest.