Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center Paul Bunyan facelift unveiling Monday
Paul Bunyan is ready again to meet his adoring fans. After six years and thousands of climbing visitors, the statue depicting the iconic lumberjack at the Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center on Highway 371 south of Brainerd was in need of a “new lease on life,” according to the artist responsible for the piece, Josh Porter. That’s why the Brainerd Lakes Chamber last month announced the refurbishment and “facelift” of ol’ Paul.
A ribbon cutting to celebrate Paul’s new, brighter paint job will be at 11:45 a.m. Monday, at the Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center during a special VIP event.
“Paul’s finish was faded and worn from years of sun exposure and thousands of climbers,” Porter said. “I enjoyed bringing back brightness and color to the sculpture. Paul is ready for another round of visitors and photographs.”
Porter expects Paul’s new, “brightened up” look to last more than eight years.
That is good news for the Brainerd Lakes Area Welcome Center, which has had nearly 144,000 people come through its doors this year alone, “and the majority of those folks get out their camera for a photo opportunity with Paul Bunyan,” said Holly Holm, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s visitor services coordinator.
Also contributing resources to the Paul Bunyan restoration project were Brainerd General Rental and Nor-Son Inc.
The historic Paul Bunyan and Babe statue at the Chamber’s downtown Brainerd office also will undergo restoration this fall. Anderson Brothers Construction is providing transportation of the statue to Porter’s workshop to replace its exterior shell, freshen its paint and strengthen its internal structure.