Discoveries-Old & New at Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Assoc. Event
Imagine, over the span of less than ten years, building twenty-two floats, participating in twenty nine parades, organizing a Paul Bunyan sized cribbage tournament, being a contest judge and guest celebrity at Byway area Centennial celebrations, acting as an intermission announcer, hosting a community Paul Bunyan Day, and appearing as Paul Bunyan to a growing batch of ‘Bunyan groupies’ at countless other community and Byway events.
Wayne Chamberlain, the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association’s first Paul Bunyan character, has done all this and so much more to promote connections between the Byway and its communities.
Chamberlain, who is also a Byway Association board member, was honored at the PBSBA’s annual meeting on November 10 at Marina II in Breezy Point. Association chair, Lynn Scharenbroich, noted, “How lucky we are that Wayne chose to be part of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association. We’re so grateful for everything he’s done and are fortunate that, even though he has moved out of the area now, he’s still willing to be a part of the Byway group.”
The 2010 Byway Association’s Annual Celebration Banquet boasts its highest attendance and Paul Bunyan fans seemed to multiply for the 12th annual banquet and fundraising event. The evening brought a variety of speakers, each having a unique relationship and perspective to the Byway. During the night bountiful Byway baskets were sashayed past tables for a chance to win the goods in a raffle. Always a crowd pleaser and Byway tradition, attendees participated in “Table Tales” — where each table group collaborates to complete a clever finish to a tall tale starter.
The event resulted in more than $450 in proceeds for the non-profit.
Featured keynote speaker, Crow Wing County Engineer, Tim Bray, spoke about the rich history surrounding the development of the roads that are now the Byway route. His presentation was a poignant reminder that although history is very old, each time it’s discovered for the first time by someone, it becomes brand new again.
Other presenters included Ray Nelson and Renee Hanson from the US Army Corps of Engineers; Explore Minnesota Tourism regional director, Carol Altepeter; and Ingrid Schneider, Director of the University of Minnesota’s Tourism Center.
As always, the mood of this event was light and fun. Many people arrived dressed in Paul Bunyan plaid. This year, a booklet developed by Mary Plein of JM Plein Consulting, containing a selection of completed Table Tales from previous years was provided to each attendee as a party favor.
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association has an active membership, accepts cash and in-kind donations, and has been very successful in securing both state and federal grants for projects that support the economic vitality of the region. As with all non-profit organizations, the focus is always on fundraising to ensure the organization’s financial sustainability. Business leaders as well as community residents are urged to continue to “Support What You Enjoy” to keep the Byway Association viable today and in the future.
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association mission is to promote, protect and enhance the recreational, historic, cultural, scenic, natural and archeological resources along the Byway driving route.