BEMIDJI -- Is there any better place to celebrate national Paul Bunyan Day than in Bemidji, where the true legendary Paul and Babe themselves reside?
North American folklore icons Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox have June 28 dedicated to them in honor of their legendary story. According to the National Calendar Day website, there’s an account that the tales began during the Papineau Rebellion of 1837, and in 1914, William Laughead, who was a logger and advertising manager for Red River Lumber Co., according to Forest History, incorporated Paul and Babe in his advertising pamphlets for the company, which helped to bring the legendary lumberjack to life in the early 1920s.
Paul Bunyan’s stories are riddled with history, ranging from the creation of the Grand Canyon to the forming of the Great Lakes.
There are many other communities that pay homage to the legendary lumberjack and his sidekick -- including in Brainerd and Akeley in Minnesota, as well as in Bangor, Maine, as well as in Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and all the way to California.
But everyone knows the true Paul and Babe live in the city of Bemidji.
Bemidji’s Paul Bunyan’s statue is an accurate representation of his larger-than-life legend, standing at 18 feet tall, with his signature red plaid shirt, said to have wagon wheels for buttons, his black mustache and pipe. His loyal companion Babe, named after his baby blue coloring, stands beside him, the two of them overlooking the city as it bustles with daily life. As legend has it, Babe became blue during the harsh Minnesota winter, where the snow and ice stained his skin and fur blue.
To celebrate Minnesota’s proud icons, people were encouraged Thursday to read one, or several, of the many stories written about their proudest folklore legend, and to share #NationalPaulBunyanDay on any form of social media.
It’s only fitting that National Paul Bunyan Day occured a day after the city of Bemidji celebrated being named the 2017 Best MN Town by Minnesota Monthly magazine, giving residents two days to celebrate living in the wonderful land of 10,000 lakes and the one true home to Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.