The stands overflow with people watching competitors during the Logging Show. Photo by Susan Cort Johnson

Some call this year’s festival the best ever

Mike Floyd, the announcer for the Logging Show at the 31st Annual Paul Bunyan Mountain and Blues Festival Saturday, July 6, made the comment: “This has been the best turnout in 31 years.”

The coordinator for each festival event most likely would have made the same comment if they had a microphone. The lines at the gate were long as The Jason King Band took the stage at noon followed by The Kyle Rowland Blues Band at 2:30 p.m. According to Jodie Gunn, the president of the Westwood Area Chamber of Commerce, more than 3,000 people attended this year.

Business was good for all 27 vendors at the Arts, Crafts, Collectibles and Antiques Fair, according to Marty Growdon, the event coordinator and a member of the Westwood Chamber board of directors. Many of the children spent most of the day at the Children’s Carnival playing on inflatable activities such as a climbing wall, water slide and bounce house. Carnival organizer, Anthony Kinsey, faithfully stirred kettle corn in an effort to keep up with the demand.

Two venues were popular with adults; the picnic area where blues bands performed on a stage and the bleachers that were lined along the arena for logging competitions where spectators could watch such events as the block chop, modified stock saw, choker race, underhand chop, double buck and speed axe.

The Logging Show not only attracted a lot of spectators, but competitors. According to Wesley Palmer, a member of the organizing committee, the Ole Salem Memorial Axe Throw had more than 40 entries. TJ Bexton was the winner. The overall winner, Nate Hodges, was awarded the Roger Medici All-Around Lumberjack Quilt, which was made by Misty Salem and Carla Porter.

The oversight committee for the 2019 Logging Show was Tommy Salem, Thomas Porter, Wesley Palmer and Jack Medici. All the chopping and sawing wood was donated by Sierra Pacific Industries, and gathered by Porter and Palmer.

In addition to the main events there are many smaller activities that are a part of the festival. Blue Ox Bingo tickets are sold throughout the day with the winner selected by a steer that relieves itself while grazing on a grassy area with squares marked off. The winner was Tad Holland. Destiney Pemberton-Bennett brought the steer she is raising to show at the Lassen County Fair to the park for the Blue Ox Bingo selection process. She is a member of Westwood High FFA.

Judging for the apple pie contest takes place at 12:30 p.m. with the winner receiving a Kitchen Aid Mixer and the second place winner receives a $100 gift card to a kitchen utensil company. Mary Manning took first place and Kathy Gatie second place. Maddyn Gunn, a member of the Westwood Chamber board, oversaw the pie contest.

A junior logging show opened at 2:30 p.m. in which children of all ages could compete for medals by rolling logs, eating watermelon and racing for the fastest time loading wood rounds into a wagon. This free event was organized by Jay Williams.

Westwood High FFA brought sheep and goats that are being raised for market at the Lassen County Fair to Westwood Park for children to pet and feed. Cassie Anderson is the Ag teacher and FFA advisor at the high school.

Before the gates opened for the festival, organized events were taking place within Westwood. At the Lassen County Visitor Center-Westwood Station, 55 people entered the fun run/walk, which began at 8 a.m. The overall male and female winners received a gift card to Buffalo Chips Pizza with first place winning a large pizza, second place a medium pizza and third place a small pizza. The first 10 children to finish received a certificate for a kid’s cone at the Sug’r Shack.

The Westwood Museum flipped pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., serving the hot breakfast at the Community Center. The museum sold 192 breakfasts.

A parade through the streets of Westwood beginning at 10:30 a.m. launched the festival.

In addition to a multitude of volunteers, the Paul Bunyan Mountain and Blues Festival is aided by sponsorships.

Sponsors for the Logging Show were Womack Construction, Howard Construction, Red River Forests LLC, Shasta Forest Timberlands LLC, John Wheeler Logging, Diamond Mountain Casino Hotel, Holt Enterprises, Wagenfuhr Timber Falling, D.L. Stoy Logging Company, Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference, Sierra Pacific Foundation, L and L Tractor Repair and Joe Tantardino Logging.

2019 Festival sponsors were McNeill Security Storage, Buffalo Chips Pizza, Lake Almanor Brokers, Westwood Quick Mart, Turner Excavating, Plumas Bank, Captain Andy’s Mountain Market, Sug’r Shack, House of Custom Cabinets, Sierra Broadcasting, Mom’s Old Mill Café, District 1 Lassen County Supervisor Chris Gallagher, Blue Ox Coffee and Susanville Auto Center.