Folklore Fun: Paul Bunyan Days

The spirit of the lumberjack and his faithful friend Babe shine at this Labor Day Weekend fest.

Paul Bunyan Days

TAKE ONE OF THOSE EPIC ROAD TRIPS... that travel sites are forever extolling on social media, the kind that cover 17 states over three or four weeks, and chances are pretty solid that you'll toodly by some truly quirky roadside arcana and artwork. One road-close staple that's seen throughout the nation, or many pockets of our country, at least, are over-sized, can't-miss-'em statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. For while the lore-famous lumberjack has ties to Maine, and the Midwest, Paul and Babe are well-known figures beyond their folkloric stomping grounds. Perhaps, though, there are few places to rival Northern California for Bunyan buffs, thanks to the colossal talking figures outside Trees of Mystery in Klamath. Featured on "This American Life," and oodles of adventure shows, the giant icons are but one of NorCal's entries in the impressive annals of devoted Bunyandom. Drive a bit south, to Fort Bragg, at the close of summer, and you're bound to come across...

PAUL BUNYAN DAYS: The long-running logging-and-lots-more party dates back to 1939, and has become such a biggin' that it fills out four days (major for any festival of any sort). Those days fall over Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 2 through 5 in 2016, so clip-clop to the ocean-close town for a caboodle of Paul-and-Babe-style celebrating. There's the famous logging show (it's a Sunday staple), and the pie sale, and a bird walk, and a craft fair, and a hot dog-eating contest, and a horseshoe-throwing showdown, and old-fashioned dress-ups, and several more rootin', tootin' happenings that have that straight-from-a-storybook, old-timey spirit. You might even see Paul himself out and about, so keep a look-out. True, American folklore boasts roots in all places where stories are shared, but this particular slice of California carries a true-blue twinkle for Paul Bunyan and a certain blue-hued bovine of notable loyalty and bravery.

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