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Akeley celebrates mighty Paul Bunyan over weekend

Paul Bunyan’s newly refurbished knees and right hand were once again the subject of numerous photo opportunities in Akeley.

BY Sarah smith and nick longworth


It seemed entirely appropriate that a spruced up Paul Bunyan statue presided over the weekend festivities in Akeley.

His scuffed knees and arthritic hand patched up and painted, Paul was once again the subject of hundreds of photo ops and kids and adults climbing all over him and the toast of the town.

“I’m just glad it’s fixed,” said firefighter Billy Krotzer, one of the descendants of the statue builder.

“There’s been lots of photo ops in front of Paul,” he said with satisfaction.

“We offer a lot of things for people and it’s a lot of fun. Kids love it and we have all sorts of stuff for families. Small town America has to survive, and this is one of the ways we can survive,” said Meg Davies, chairperson of Paul Bunyan Days Committee, her fourth year.

Akeley’s Paul Bunyan Days wasn’t trouble-free. A deluge of rain Saturday kept activities curtailed, canceled or contained.

“Rain, rain, rain,” grumbled vendor Audrey Lembke. “Usually we do real good here. You’ve put a lot of work in this,” she said, praising the town’s effort.

A long-running dispute that delayed fixing the crumbling statue was set aside. Dean Krotzer’s name once again adorned Paul’s right boot. It had been sanded off during one of the repairs in the past.

But the crowds, numbering hundreds of people, and the sunshine came out Sunday for the parade, the candy flew from every float, cheering fans lined the streets and all was right with Paul Bunyan’s world.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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