Paul Austin

Paul Austin is the director of Conservation Minnesota, a statewide non-profit. In that role, he gets to hear and share Minnesotan’s stories about our lakes, lands and way of life. Paul’s past lives include election as a small town mayor, serving at the US Agency for International Development, and managing a small marketing firm. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two small children and one very large dog.

Father's Day Weekend Travel Advisory

Posted by: Paul Austin Updated: June 8, 2012 - 10:50 AM

This "travel advisory" was posted on Conservation Minnesota's website yesterday. I love the idea of giant statues joining travelers along the highways.


 

The already busy construction season may get a bit more hectic next weekend as giant statues from around the state are expected to make it to Bemidji for Paul Bunyan’s 75th birthday party. The party is being held in conjunction with a Legacy Destination Weekend that is planned for the week of June 11-15 in and around Bemidji.

“Have you seen the size of the Paul Bunyan in Brainerd?” Asked an official with the Minnesota Department of Transportation who wished not to be named. “That guy is going to leave some big footprints along the side of the road.  We’re hoping that he doesn’t hook up with the Paul Bunyan in Akeley for the walk to Bemidji.  That could make for a lot of roadside damage, not to mention the backed-up gawker traffic on an already busy Father’s Day weekend.”

All of the state’s big statues have been invited to attend the 75th anniversary of Bemidji’s iconic Paul and Babe statues settling in along the shores of Lake Bemidji.  Herman the German from New Ulm, Big Ole from Alexandria, the Jolly Green Giant from Blue Earth, the Iron Man from Chisholm’s Iron World and the Big Otter from Fergus Falls have all expressed initial interest in attending.

The world’s largest ball of twine in Darwin wants to come, but, as you can imagine, struggles to find rides.  And the walleye statues who represent the bitter feud between the cities of Baudette and Garrison in the “Walleye Capitol Of The World” battle are struggling to come up with waterways that will get them to Bemidji in time for the party.

While in Bemidji for the birthday party, revelers will also be able to take part in other Legacy Destination Weekend events.  Highlights of the weekend include the very popular Bemidji Library Book Festival that will include workshops, readings and even a few poetry slams by a collection of prominent local and national authors.

There will also be a theatrical performance of the Spitfire Grill held at the theater named after the birthday boy, and a free movie shown nightly at dusk at the Lake Bemidji waterfront.  Those looking for some more outdoors adventure may choose to partake in a Bog walk or archery class at Lake Bemidji State Park, a canoe trip along the Mississippi or a chance for kids to fish for free on Friday.

The Legacy Destination Weekends are jointly sponsored by Conservation Minnesota, Minnesota Citizens For the Arts and Explore Minnesota as well as a number of host community organizations.  They were created to draw attention to all of the ways that the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, which the voters approved in 2008, has impacted local communities.

The most current schedule of events for the big birthday/Legacy Destination Weekend is available at www.visitbemidji.com.

 

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