Planning for this year’s Hope Chainsaw Carving Competition is boldly moving forward.
It’s one of the only events that will be moving ahead this year, as the pandemic continues to affect gatherings. But the competition is unique in a few ways that will allow it to move forward, says Victor Smith, one of the organizers.
The bi-annual event is held in Hope’s Memorial Park, with chainsaw carvers setting up work areas along the perimeter. Organizers feel it is still possible to hold the event, and keep everyone safely distanced.
The event is entirely outdoors, and fenced off areas will be just one way they control the crowds.
Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that some events could go ahead this summer, if they are “in the hundreds.” While the competition does gather many people together, Smith feels that they can provide the community the event along with the safety needed.
And the excitement was already building this week, with carver Ryan Villiers in town. On Tuesday, he was set up outside Mountainview Brewing Co. on Old Hope Princeton Way creating smaller carvings for sale. He and Smith have plans to “pop up” in spaces all over Hope and even Harrison Hot Springs over the next week or so.
While in town, Villiers will also be fixing his John Rambo carving that sits outside Memorial Park. Someone recently snapped off the tip of Rambo’s bandana, and there is a gun that’s needed repair for a while, he said.
Villiers says he is loving being back in Hope, and has been treated well since arriving in town.
Anyone who sees Villiers carving around town is welcome to stop and watch.
And for those interested in the competition, Smith says to watch for more information as they firm up dates and work on adjustments to their normal routines.
Last week, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province will be watching the U.K., where more than 34 million people have received a vaccine, for guidance in terms of events.
“I can say there is not likely to be big events of any sort, even outdoors, through this summer and into the fall or winter,” Henry said.
However, Henry said that sped up vaccine deliveries – with more than one million doses expected in May – could allow for some celebrations this summer.
“We’re in a whole different world now,” she said.
“I can see many situations where we can have smaller, distanced outdoor events this summer, perhaps hundreds of people.”
-with files from Katya Slepian
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