In Minnesota, every day is Paul Bunyan Day.
But Tuesday, June 28, was also National Paul Bunyan Day. It was an opportunity for Minnesotans to celebrate the legendary lumberjack’s birthday and to reflect on how wrong the entire state of Maine is about where he was born.
It took five storks to deliver Paul to his parents in the Minnesota woods. The baby was so big, by the time he was a week old, he could wear his father’s clothes and it took a whole herd of cows to keep his milk bottle filled. His baby carriage was a wagon hitched to a team of oxen. Or so they say.
Bunyan left his mark on Minnesota. When he tramped around the state, his footprints filled with water and created the 10,000 lakes. His partner, Babe the Blue Ox, stomped the first mine shaft into the Cuyuna Range. When a keg of water Babe was hauling sprang a leak, it spilled all the way south to New Orleans, forming the Mississippi River.
Up north in Bemidji, where an 18-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan has loomed over the lakeshore since 1937, the city celebrated plaid Christmas with tasteful restraint.
“Every day is plaid day in Bemidji,” said Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht. “True North and True Paul Bunyan!”
If anyone wants to spend Paul Bunyan Day with Paul Bunyan himself, the state is peppered with possibilities.
There’s Paul Bunyan Land in the Brainerd Lakes area, where a huge talking Paul has been blowing the minds of generations of youngsters by greeting them by name.
Paul Bunyan beams out at passing tourists on the log chute ride in the Mall of America — where kids can also craft a Babe the Blue Crayon at the Crayola Experience.
Bangor, Maine, may claim to have Paul Bunyan’s birth certificate on file, but Akeley, Minn., has his giant cradle, not to mention what might be the world’s largest Bunyan statue — 30 feet tall as he kneels to invite tourists to hop onto the palm of his hand.
There are Bunyan statues in Chisholm and Jenkins, too. You can find statues of his sweetheart and son in Hackensack and his grave in Kelliher. There’s even a monument to a 1,199-pound walleye he fished out of Rush Lake just off Interstate 35.
Happy Day-After-Paul Bunyan Day, Minnesota. Go forth and celebrate accordingly.