Community Spotlight: Paul Bunyan Days Celebrates 70 Years In Akeley
Paul Bunyan Days in Akeley is celebrating 70 years of bringing families together.
“We have a lot of things and we’re real family-orientated. It’s our 70th, so we kind of amped things up a little bit this year,” says Peg Davies, the Paul Bunyan Days committee chair.
Akeley loves Paul Bunyan, and it’s safe to assume Paul loved his birthplace, too. To celebrate the man who created Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, the town hosts the Paul Bunyan Days festival every year over the last full weekend in June. The festival has gone through changes, but one thing that always remains is that it’s fun for all ages.
“Years ago, we had carnivals, and that always drew people in but now we decided to dispense with those probably 10 or 12 years ago, and now we’re going with more of a homegrown sort of thing,” says Davies.
“There’s a lot of activities here. I like to see some new activities and everything and it’s actually really fun to see new ones and do them,” says Morgan Monroe, a young frequent attendee of the festival.
A few new activities were added to celebrate seven decades. This year, there were more than 50 vendors from all over Minnesota who brought food, shops and even live music. There was also a kids fishing tournament, a parade and more carnival games than you can imagine. Everyone had a favorite.
Taylor Monroe, another young frequent attendee, says, “Popping the balloons over there” when ask about her favorite thing about the festival.
Serena Krotzer, a young attendee, agrees and also says, “Popping the balloons,” as her favorite thing.
Other activities included a pie social, a treasure hunt, and a horseshoe tournament. There was even a rock-climbing wall so you could feel as tall as Paul Bunyan himself.
Attendee Warren Scouton says, “Every year, they try to do things a little differently but so far, all in all, it’s a good event for the locals and for everyone, I guess.”
With such a long history in the community, Paul Bunyan Days has become a staple in the Akeley community, much like the man himself.
“We’ve had a good history of Paul Bunyan, it’s amazing how many people stop and have their picture taken – have the kids sit on his hand and all that kind of stuff. They stop all the time,” says Davies.
Some say that if Paul was here today to witness the festival, he definitely would like what he saw.
Davies says, “We try to gear it really to Paul Bunyan and it’s always been Paul Bunyan Days even before our big statue came, but I think he would be proud because I think Paul always had a special place in his heart for kids and family get together, and that’s what this was all about.”