Call for Paul Is Answered
Back in September of 2008 the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association (PBSBA) put out the call for a Paul Bunyan saying, “Not much else can compare to being Paul Bunyan. Think about it!” Lakeland Public Television aired the story, helping support the effort to get burly Byway area men to start some Paul Bunyan thinking.
Then, in November of 2008, at the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association’s annual meeting and dinner, a vision of Bunyan-ness walked in. In his black and red plaid jacket, Brian Peterson immediately grabbed attention. Over and over he heard it, “You look just like Paul Bunyan!” It didn’t happen that night, but before too long, Brian was starting to feel it…yep, not much else can compare to being Paul Bunyan.
He thought back on his childhood when he was a self-proclaimed fan of Paul Bunyan. In fact, Paul Bunyan and logging camp lore were a major presence in his young life. “Spending time in Paul Bunyan country is great when you’re a kid,” Brian reminisced.
So, after a couple months of uncertainty, Brian boldly stepped up and offered to be the Paul Bunyan that the Byway Association was seeking. “The kids inspired me to be Paul,” Brian said, “Like me when I was a kid, I think they look up to Paul Bunyan and what he stands for.”
Now, the PBSBA can proudly say there are two Paul Bunyans to share the big work of being Paul in Byway community events, parades and festivals. Wayne Chamberlain, who became the Byway Association’s original Paul Bunyan in 2002, still makes appearances to delighted crowds who have grown to know him over the years. But, since his move to Bemidji, it’s more difficult for him to get to the many Byway area events. That’s why the PBSBA needed an additional Paul Bunyan. Brian and Wayne will share the big Bunyan costume for now, but once a sponsor is found for the second costume, each big man will have his own.
Brian Peterson is expecting to make his first public appearance as Paul Bunyan sometime this summer.
Browse through this website to learn more about the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway. To help sponsor the Paul Bunyan costume, email or call PBSBA chairperson, Lynn Scharenbroich at 218-543-4714. For a list of Byway area events and parades, visit www.explorebrainerdlakes.com.