by Nato Craft April 09, 2021 6 min read

If you are a big fan of jigsaw puzzles, you might think there is nothing more enjoyable than spending a day indoors building a challenging or favorite jigsaw puzzle by yourselves, no friends. However, have you ever thought that you will share your passion with others or take advice from many people who are also crazy about jigsaw puzzles?

Here are various festivals which are held for players to compete or make some conversations about everything which is related to puzzle. Let's try arrive there with some friends who are like-minded, probably you will broaden the mind and gain some interesting talks. No matter who you are a professional or novice player, they are all perfect for you.

Table of contents

1. In the US

2. In the UK

3. In Spain

4. In Belgium

1. In the US

Felicia Smith Jigsaw Puzzle Competition

(The former name: Hope For Three Jigsaw Puzzle Competition)

Hope For Three was created in April 2011 in Sugar Land, Texas. The purpose of this local non-profit organization is to heighten public awareness and provide resources and support (financial aid) to families having children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The annual Jigsaw Puzzle Competition is one of the biggest events they host every year.

The first Annual Jigsaw Puzzle Competition was held on January 20, 2018. Each team has four participants aged ten and upwards. They have to complete a 500-piece puzzle within two hours. In the 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, each piece is different, as the same as the diversity of individuals with ADS. The proceeds from the event go towards helping local children with autism to gain access to valuable resources, therapies, and support they might otherwise go without.

In 2021, the name of competition is changed. It is put an honorable name, Felicia Smith. She inspired the start of the event but passed away in 2020 after a brave battle with cancer. Her husband and two teenagers are still involved in the event as a tribute to her efforts and commitment to Hope For Three.

North Dakota Jigsaw Puzzle Championship

The event is organized annually at the Red River Valley Fair, Fargo, North Dakota. The 2018 was its inaugural year, and the competition achieved massive success from the beginning. The North Dakota Jigsaw Puzzle Championship was originally made arrangements for 20 groups to compete.

Each team has three or four members. All ages are able to participate in this competition. According to competition rules, teams are provided with the same puzzle, and nobody is permitted to see the jigsaw puzzle until the timer begins. Groups have to complete the puzzles within the specified time frame that is 3 hours. The top three finishers will receive a trophy and prizes from local sponsors.

St Paul Winter Carnival Puzzle Contest

The Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation has continued celebrating The Saint Paul Winter Carnival with a view to bringing family-friendly events. It is not only the oldest festival of the United States in winter, but also community pride to Saint Paul and the Twin Cities metro area. The festival is funded by private donations and corporate contributions.

And the Puzzle Contest is considered as the biggest competition of jigsaw puzzles in the country. Teams of four individuals have to put 500 pieces together in the limited time, under two hours. There are often three divisions in the competition: Adult 1, Adult 2 and family (At least one participant must be under the age of 18 by contest date). However, the organizers added the Expert/Adult to the competition. The new expert division featured top-placing finishers from previous Winter Carnival Puzzle Contests who have been personally invited to join us again.

In terms of rewards, prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd & 3rd place teams in both brackets. Moreover, all groups are able to keep the limited-edition puzzle they worked on, no matter where they rank. 

Puzzle Parley

There were few craftspeople who produced wooden jigsaw puzzles 20 years ago. Most of them were working by themselves, isolated from other makers. At that point, Rachel Page Elliott wanted to hold a gathering of jigsaw puzzle cutters with a view to sharing and learning ideas and experiences with each other. The first meeting was organized in 1994, and it was called the Puzzle Parley. The event helped to break down the barriers between craftspeople, bring them together, and discuss their craft.

The Puzzle Parley started as an occasional one-day gathering of puzzle makers, now it has developed into a biennial event on weekends. Experienced puzzle cutters are able to show off outstanding wooden jigsaw puzzles there. Moreover, puzzle creators, suppliers, collectors, and aficionados might find presentations on diverse topics of jigsaw puzzle such as the design of figure pieces, puzzle collecting and rare wooden puzzles, and the history of certain reputable brands in this event.

2. In the UK

Isle of Wight Jigsaw Festival

Stuart Cleaver was an enthusiast of jigsaw puzzles. He organized an exhibition of his own private collection of jigsaw puzzles at St. James’ Church, Church Path, East Cowes. And then, a number of other completed puzzles were also brought to the church on sale with a view to charity fundraising. This event started in 1995, and now it has become an event every year, and even kept expanding.

The Isle of Wight Jigsaw Festival usually takes place on the second week of August. The puzzles which are displayed feature many themes, from collectors' puzzles to kids' puzzles, from traditional puzzles to the latest 3D and double-sided puzzles, from country scenes puzzles to specialist puzzles (catering for cult followings like sports cars and motors). The number of jigsaw puzzles displayed is around 300 products. If a puzzle is sold, there will be another one replacing it immediately. 

Newmarket Jigsaw Festival & British Championships

The Newmarket Jigsaw Festival is organized every year at St Mary’s Church in Newmarket, Suffolk. There are over 1000 jigsaw puzzles featuring a wide range of topics. In the third year of the event, the British Jigsaw Championships was held in conjunction with this event. 

In the competition, participants over the world race to complete a 1000-piece puzzle in the shortest amount of time. The puzzle is not revealed until the start. The competition offers three categories entrants can choose: élite (those who would expect to finish the puzzle in under 3 hours), pairs and fun. There is no minimum (or maximum!) age requirement. Families may wish to enter the fun category together. The fastest people in each category gain a small money prize, of £100, £100 and £50 respectively.

3. In Spain

Jigsaw Puzzle World Championship

The World Jigsaw Federation (WJPF) was established in 2019. The World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship is an annual event of WJPF, and the first competition was also held in that year in Valladolid, Spain. The event includes three categories: Teams, Pairs, and Individuals.
Winners in each division are recognized as the fastest jigsaw puzzlers in the world.

For the team event, each team consists of 4 participants who have to complete 4 jigsaw puzzles as fastest as possible. They simultaneously work on jigsaw puzzles of 1000, 1000, 1500, and 2000 pieces in a maximum period of 8 hours. In terms of the pairs event, 2 members have to build an unpublished puzzle of 500 pieces within 90 minutes. In the last category, the individuals event, each individual participant finishes a 500-pieces puzzle in under 2 hours. The champions in each category are the fastest to finish.

4. In Belgium

24 Hours of Puzzle

The 24 hours puzzle competition annually takes place during the last weekend of October in Hannut, Belgium. Puzzlers from over the world might participate in this event. This is the world's greatest Team Puzzle Competition, however each team just includes four members. Competing groups race to complete as many puzzles as they can in 24 hours. The number of puzzle pieces is from 1000 to 3000. A team assembling the most pieces will win the contest.

Besides this, there is also an individual competition. Players have to complete a 500-pieces puzzle in under 3 hours. The first person to finish the puzzle will be the contest.

There are so many interesting events for puzzle lovers from festivals to competitions. If you're living near where these events are organized, let's join. What are you waiting for? 

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