Paul Bunyan Rag Doll Moves to Holiday Village

Paul Bunyan will be moving from his "home" at the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association's Exhibit Room at the Crosslake Army Corp of Engineers building to the new Holiday Village at the Westgate Mall for the holiday season.

How did a World Record holding Paul Bunyan rag doll find its way to this 2008 Holiday Village Display in Brainerd/Baxter, Minnesota? 

The story started a couple years ago when a vigilant Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association board member was on an e-Bay shopping excursion. There was the Paul Bunyan rag doll, complete with its own big chair. Designer and fabric artist, Marilyn Lee, and craftsman, Kenny Kraeplin, created the Paul Bunyan doll that is now owned by the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association, through the generous donation of its creators.

Big Paul hasn't been content to just sit around. In this first year, he's been in a local parade, sat through many a photo with adoring children and most recently hitched a ride in Pederson's Shores and More van to participate in the Holiday Village at the Westgate Mall.

It took three strong people to move Big Paul to his current location in the Holiday Village. Paul sits in his own large, wooden chair. Although children won't be able to climb on Paul, they can easily see him close up through the glass window facing the mall hall, or inside the village.

Kathy Moore, Moore Consulting, is coordinating the Paul at the Mall display for the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association. Information about the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is displayed around the Big Paul doll, encouraging Mall visitors to learn more about how they can use and enjoy the recreational, historical and environmental resources along this 54 mile, nationally-designated driving route located in northern Crow Wing County and lapping into Cass County by Pine River.

The Holiday Village is coordinated by Nancy Cross of Brainerd Community Action. It's located in the old Dollar Store at the mall. The space has been converted into a holiday village scene, with many "store fronts", a small stage area for holiday performances, and, of course, a satellite workshop office for Santa. The Holiday Village is slated to open the day after Thanksgiving, and stay open daily until Christmas Eve during regular mall hours.

Paul the Doll Facts:
• Measuring nearly thirteen feet tall, this Paul Bunyan doll is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as the world's largest rag doll.
• Completely handmade from his hat to his boots, the doll is constructed like a jointed Cabbage Patch doll.
• Paul's head, alone, took 40 hours to construct with every hair attached one strand at a time.
• The doll was designed and made by fabric artist, Marilyn Lee and craftsman, Kenny Kraeplin, both from northern MN.

News Category: 
Published Date: 
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Published By: 
the Brainerd Dispatch