Jackson Hole ElkFest to Auction Final Elk Antler Arch on Jackson, Wyoming Town Square as Part of May Festival

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ElkFest, May 16-17, 2015, a popular Jackson Hole festival celebrating nature, wildlife, mountain men and great chili, has announced that the final original elk antler arch on Jackson’s Town Square will be auctioned to the highest bidder. Proceeds from the auction will help pay for constructing a new version of the antler arch, one of four famous arches that mark the corners of the town square.

Proceeds from the ElkFest antler auctions help fund the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where thousands of wild elk spend the winter (© Sidney Cromer).

The ElkFest weekend has evolved into a fun-filled celebration of nature, outdoor skills, hunting and ecological education.

Elk antlers are iconic in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Each year nearly a million visitors tour the National Elk Refuge just north of town to see the more than 5,000 elk that overwinter there. And in the town of Jackson, four massive elk antler arches mark each corner of Town Square – a famous vacation photo backdrop. This year the last of those original arches – on the northeast corner of Town Square – will be auctioned to the highest bidder as the town celebrates its connection to this giant of the deer family with its ElkFest weekend of activities, May 16-17, 2015.

The original Town Square arches were built in the early 1960s, comprised of approximately 2,000 antlers and weighing 10-12 thousand pounds each. Over time, the arches began to deteriorate, so in 2007 the first of the landmarks was auctioned with proceeds going toward creating a replacement. Since then two more of the original arches were purchased and replaced with new antlers, and this year the final original arch goes on the auction block at the end of the 48th annual Jackson Hole Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction on Saturday, May 16.

Since 1967, the Boy Scouts have been assisting in gathering antlers shed naturally each winter by male elk on the refuge, auctioning them to buyers from around the world. The auction was created as a fundraiser for the National Elk Refuge, with last year’s record-setting 13,968 pounds of elk antlers yielding more than $200,000 in sales. Begun in connection with the Boy Scout auction, the ElkFest weekend has evolved into a fun-filled celebration of nature, outdoor skills, hunting and ecological education and awareness – as well as a celebration of spring warming the valley after another famous Jackson Hole winter.

Additional Saturday events for this year’s ElkFest include a traveling conservation exhibit with some of the largest bull elk in the world from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a free concert by Jackson Hole Community Band, a special Kids’ Corner, and the return of the Mountain Man Rendezvous and Traders Row at the Teton County Fairgrounds. The mountain man event, which traditionally begins on ElkFest weekend and continues through Old West Days, May 22-25, includes interactive competitions such as bow and arrow, hawk and knife and atlatl rivalries among the costumed mountain men as well as refreshments and hand-crafted goods for sale.

Sunday, May 17 brings back the High Noon Chili Cook-Off from noon – 3 p.m. on the Town Square, winding down the weekend with a delicious competition among local chili aficionados. Hot and spicy, sweet or mild, the chili contest is open to all with the call for entries ending May 11.

Directly following ElkFest, Jackson celebrates its Western history with the annual Old West Days, set to take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 22 - 25, 2015. The four-day event allows visitors to enjoy a roundup of exciting Wild West fun, including live music, theatrical entertainment, arts and crafts, delicious food and drink and the rodeo.

About the Jackson Hole ElkFest:
Conveniently located just 20 minutes from the Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson, Wyo., is served by major airlines including Delta, United, American and SkyWest. Reservation information for Jackson’s numerous hotels and schedules for events and activities year-round may be found at http://www.jacksonholechamber.com. For additional information on the May ElkFest, visit http://www.elkfest.org or contact Maureen Murphy at Jackson Hole Chamber, 307.733.3316.

Media Contact: Amy Stark, WordenGroup Strategic Public Relations, amy(at)wordenpr(dot)com, 307.734.5335

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