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Tradition thrives at Logging Days

Suzanne Thomas knows the importance Buena Vista Logging Days plays in keeping traditions alive.

The daughter of the late Earle Dickinson, one of the founders of Buena Vista Logging Days, recalled a quote her father used to say.

"He used to say, 'Remember the past while enjoying the present,'" she said. "That's exactly what we do during Logging Days."

The 29th annual Logging Days Festival will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 4 at Buena Vista Ski Area & Logging Village, 12 miles north of Bemidji on County Road 15.

Admission is $6 for those 13 years or older, $4 for youth ages 6-12 and free for children ages 5 and younger, or $25 per family.

For more information, call 755-9919 or visit

For decades, Logging Days has brought horse-powered logging and lumberjacks to life. This year, as Bemidji celebrates the 75th anniversary of its Paul Bunyan statue, the event is expected to be more festive than ever.

"We are going to feature Paul Bunyan activities that will bring Paul back to life," she said. "Logging Days is all about the lumberjack lifestyle."

Logging demonstrations, sleigh rides with the Go and Whoa Harness Club, wood carving, live music, chain-saw carving, a flapjack breakfast, log loading and more will be featured throughout the day, as well as children's activities.

"Event goers can expect to see more plaid, too," Thomas added.

Thomas still recalls the year when the first event was held.

"We had so many people come," she said. "More than 1,000 people attended, and the event was held on the third floor of the chalet. It was packed."

Thomas remembers that last year, the temperature felt like 20 degrees below zero, yet she said she was pleased to see around 400 people attend the event.

For Thomas, one of her most treasured Logging Days events is the is Tall Timberjack Ceremony that takes place each year in Buena Vista's Lumberjack Hall of Fame building, where local loggers and others are recognized.

"My dad really liked to honor the lumberjacks," she said. "That was his most special time. He really felt so appreciative of all the men and their hours of work in the cold."

Wendell Knutson of the Go and Whoa Harness Club said he experiences joy when he sees people enjoying the sleigh rides at the annual event.

"Just seeing the expression on some of the people's faces who have never had a sleigh ride before is a real treat," he said. "It's fun to watch the teamsters with their horses. It is glorious for me to enjoy how marvelous and how well mannered they are."

Knutson recommends people stop at the Hall of Fame building to see old logging artifacts and read stories of those who played a role in the logging industry or the Logging Days event.

"It's just wonderful," he said.