OSCODA – Paul Bunyan Days is set to return to Furtaw Field this weekend, after last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19.
Admission buttons featuring Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, will be sold at the entry gate for five dollars. Children ages 16 and younger will receive free admission.
According to Oscoda-AuSable Chamber of Commerce (OACC) Nancy Howse, the first Paul Bunyan Days festival was first held in 1971.
“It was never held consistently for one reason or the other,” said Howse. “It started in ‘71 and then it went for a few years, but then they had a whole committee. They used to have a parade, it was a really big thing and they’d have a committee that would meet all year long and then all of a sudden it kind of went away.”
Although this isn’t the 50th Paul Bunyan Days festival, there’s no denying that 50 years have past since the very first festival.
“I can tell you when it started, but I can’t tell you what year this is for the festival,” said Howse.
The weekend festivities are set to include, Family Fun Tyme Amusements with carnival rides, games and food, a beard competition, music, a corn hole tournament, arts and crafts, an opportunity to dress up your pet like Paul Bunyan, and much more.
“It’s a great time to have a ride on a Ferris wheel and all this good stuff, but this is important to our history,” said Howse.
On Saturday, starting at noon until 6 p.m. the Oscoda Lions Club will be selling raffle tickets to win $1,000. There will also be opportunities to participate in a number of other activities for different prizes.
Parking will be available parallel to Furtaw Field. Howse said to please be respectful of private property and not park in no parking zones. Also, she added, be cautious when crossing the street
Friday, Sept. 17
Open 4 till 10 p.m.
Family Fun Tyme Amusements will begin running at 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Additionally at 4 p.m., staff from the Robert J. Parks Library and Bradley the Bookworm will share Tall Tales and Lumberjack Tales.
Beginning at 5 p.m., there will be a tribute to the late Ed Glotfelty, better known as Oscoda’s Paul Bunyan. Additionally, the three hour quick carve Chainsaw competition will start and go until 8 p.m. Logs will be provided by Sunrise Lumber in Mio and the event will be sponsored by OACC.
Saturday, Sept. 18
Open 9 a.m. till 10 p.m.
Beginning at 9 a.m. gates will be open to browse craft vendor items until 5 p.m. The Chainsaw competition will commence at 9:30 a.m. with the carving of their competition piece and they will carve until 5 p.m.
At 10 a.m., Alpena Community College (ACC) will be having a Lumber Jack and Jill look alike competition. The look alike competition encourages participants to visit the ACC Oscoda campus booth wearing their own flare of lumberjack fashion. Participants will participate in a photo shoot.
Also at 10 a.m., staff from the Parks Library will be back to do more fun activities until 2 p.m. Corn hole tournament registration will begin at 11 a.m. and the tournament will commence at noon until 5 p.m. The Saturday round will be the preliminary round and Sunday will be the finals. Interested parties are asked to contact The Chamber at 989-739-7322 or CVB at 989-739-0900.
At noon, there will be live music being played by Ronn Fryer and he will play until 4 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, he’ll begin at 2 p.m. At 2 p.m. the Northland Area Federal Credit Union is sponsoring a Saw dust dig treasure hunt until 2:30 p.m. Kids age two years old to 12 years old are welcome to participate.
More competitions and activities will continue with registration for beard competition at 3 p.m. Beards will be judged by the judging criteria which includes: size, quality, color, style & presentation and creativity. The judging and awards will begin at 4 p.m., sponsored by the OACC.
At 5:15 p.m. there will be a Chainsaw auction and judging and Chainsaw competition awards will be given at 6 p.m. There will be no carving on Sunday.
Sunday, Sept. 19
Open 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
Gates will open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. At 11 a.m. the carnival will open and the Corn hole finals will commence. At 12:30-1:30 p.m., there will be an opportunity to dress your pet up like Paul Bunyan and show them off. All prizes will be given at 3 p.m., according to Howse.
The final competition of the weekend will be a pie eating contest. Registration will begin at 2 p.m. with the competition commencing at 2:15 p.m. Gates will be closed at 4 p.m.
OACC members encourage guests to bring some additional cash for raffle items or vendor shopping as all establishments may not have credit card capability.
Additionally, anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact the chamber by Friday at noon. Volunteers are needed all weekend long. For more information about Paul Bunyan Days contact OACC at 739-7322.