COVID-19 is really messing with Hayward’s traditional, event-filled summer.

Hayward’s iconic Lumberjack World Championships will not be held this year. The Lumberjack World Championships Foundation and its board of directors announced Tuesday, May 5, that the 61st annual Lumberjack World Championships competition and festival has been rescheduled from July 30- August 1, 2020, to July 29-31, 2021.

This will be the first summer without a Lumberjack World Championship event since its inception in 1960.

The LWC is held each summer in Hayward’s historic Lumberjack Bowl, which served as a log-holding pond for the North Wisconsin Lumber Company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The LWC is known as the oldest and most revered timber sports competition in the United States.

Due to the uncertainties associated with the spread of COVID-19 and the competition’s national and international reach, LWCF officials were forced to make what they described as a “difficult decision” to reschedule the 61st annual LWC international competition.

“The LWCF Board of Directors took many scenarios into consideration and this decision was not arrived at lightly,” said Eric Maki, LWCF board member. “After much deliberation, we knew it was the only responsible decision to make for all involved. We look forward to returning next year with good wood, sharp edges, and all cylinders firing.”

“On matters of public health and safety we take our guidance from the officials entrusted with protecting the public,” said Ben Popp, the foundation’s executive director. “No one is more disappointed about this decision than the athletes, staff, board, volunteers, and greater Hayward area community. We will be back and better than ever in 2021.”

The LWC, held in late July/early August of each year, draws an estimated 12,000 spectators and fans to Hayward.

Postponement of the event is a huge disappointment.

“The Lumberjack World Championships means so much to our local community as well as to the thousands of visitors who love this iconic event,” said Chris Ruckdaschel, executive director of the Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce. “While everyone is understandably frustrated by the situation in our world today, we completely understand the decision made by the LWC board. Despite the unbelievable times, I truly believe we have very bright days ahead in the Northwoods.”

“The safety of our competitors, spectators, sponsors, volunteers, and staff is paramount,” said DJ Aderman, LWC Chief of Competition. “We are simply unable to provide those assurances in our tightly packed competition venue and on our festival grounds.”

Tickets which have already been purchased for the 2020 event will be valid and honored at the 2021 event.

The Run: More to comeThe annual Lumberjack Run will still be held in some form, although at this time the LWCF isn’t ready to say exactly what it will look like.

“While we don’t know exactly what the event will look like, it will happen,” said LWCF marketing and communications director Nancy Knutson. “We’re working on modifying the event now and will announce plans once we have a better understanding of what’s possible on August 1.”

Registration will open on May 15. Details will be posted on www.birkie.com as well as through the LWC and Birkebeiner social media channels.

Additional information is at www.lumberjackworldchampionships.com.