Labor Day weekend in Fort Bragg means Paul Bunyan Days and a lumber-jack rowdy good time!
This year Paul and Babe Hit The Beach.
This year’s celebration will be September 1, 2, 3, 2012. Over the years our Labor Day Weekends have been described as “old time small town fun” to “lumber-jack rowdy, but always a good time, with a nod to our logging heritage. As we look toward a new/old vision of sustainable forest management with jobs forever, we celebrate both the skill of those who came before us and the promise of tomorrow.
History: When the Fort Bragg Chamber of Commerce decided to have the “Return of Paul Bunyan” in 1939, they started a tradition that has lasted through the years.
As we know things were much different then. Life was simpler, and much more forgiving. Mayor Dixon proclaimed that a whiskerino contest would be held, and all the wives should put up with the whiskers until they were nice and soft. If men didn’t have a mustache or beard during the celebration, they would be thrown into jail (Kangaroo Kort). If enough people thought it was a good idea, you may get dunked in a water trough.
A parade of 100 cars and trucks, painted up with Paul Bunyan slogans, made a trip to San Francisco, and were given a key to the city by the mayor in ceremonies at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Our first Paul Bunyan was Charlie Buck, a 6’6″ logger, born at Little River in 1904. Charlie was always big reaching 6’4″ by the time he was 15, and at one time he weighed almost 300 pounds. In 1976 at age 72 he become the Grand Marshall in the Paul Bunyan Days Parade.
For many years the townspeople really got into the spirit. They made buildings look old and everyone dressed in old clothes, with men growing there facial hair. Everyone built floats with parts of the celebration lasted over a month, but the actual celebration lasted four days.
The celebration was a success until the United States entered the war two months, after the 1941 festivities. The Paul Bunyan Days were curtailed for the next four years. In 1946 the Labor Day festivities resumed with local businessmen grouped together and put what was advertised a Paul Bunyan Junior Days celebration.
The regular celebrations continued through 1960, but skipped two years for lack of support. In 1963 the festival was started again, and has been going strong ever since.
Part of the credit for the Paul Bunyan Days celebration goes to Gertrude White, who was the driving force behind the celebrations almost since its start. In 1939 during the first Paul Bunyan Days, Mrs. White allowed the committee to build a rodeo grounds on her property north of town. After that she continued to get more involved, eventually taking over the reins with Frank Hyman when the Chamber of Commerce discontinued their sponsorship in 1968, Gertrude continued to lead the Association until 1994.
In 1995 the Paul Bunyan Days committee was revitalized once more, bringing in new people and new energy. They brought back some of the events that had been lost over the years. Each year brings even more new events, and a hope that the Paul Bunyan Days tradition will never end.
Here is a listing of this year’s schedule:
Stevenswood Spa Resort is only 15 minutes south, of Fort Bragg, Plan on coming to the coast and enjoy one of our suites, dinner and relax and get pampered in our spa.
For dinner phone 707-937-2810 or online at urban spoon.
For lodging phone 707-937-2810 or online at reservations.
For spa reservations phone 707-937-2810 or online at Indigo Eco-Spa.