It didn't take long for the Kenai Chamber of Commerce to sell out their 27th Beer & Wine tasting experience according to past chamber president Penny Furnish. "I think everyone was excited about the Lumber Jack Jam theme this year and we were totally sold out of tickets a week before the event. It shows great community support and we couldn't have done it without them and all the volunteers who put so much work into these events," said Furnish. Proceeds from the annual event fund programs such as Christmas comes to Kenai and the 4th of July Parade. "One of our newest Chamber members Buccaneer Alaska was our title sponsor this year and they brought the winners of their name the new jack-up rig contest to the event and Buccaneer executive vice president Clint Wainwright flew in to congratulate the winners along with Rep. Mike Chenault and Sen. Tom Waggoner," she said.
According to Wainwright over 300 entries were received from Alaska as well as Australia and after a lot of collaboration they decided to select the combined names of "Endeavour" and "The Spirit of Independence." "We felt that described Buccaneer and our new rig for Cook Inlet perfectly so we decided to have two winners, Eric Lindow and Ed Marker and combine their entries which were Endeavour and The Spirit of Independence," explained Wainwright.
"The event was a huge success with over 300 guests attending and dressed in all kinds of lumberjack attire. We had lumberjack games such as hatchet throwing and wood splitting, along with Silent, Live Auctions, and numerous raffles. Dinner cuisine was provided by Kenai Catering and the beer was donated by Kassik's Brewery and the wine by Bear Creek Winery," said Kenai Chamber executive director and runner-up in the Paul Bunyan look alike competition Johna Beech. Best Overall Costume was awarded to Rhonda Johnson, AlaskaUSA, aka Babe the big blue Ox and the best Paul Bunyan Costume was awarded to "Johan." Former chamber director Carol Bannock bought the lucky key to the treasure chest sponsored by AlaskaUSA and went home $500 richer. "It just shows that you don't have to be the sharpest ax in the shed to be the luckiest, and no I've never won anything before but will spend it all locally," said the jubilant Bannock.