Conservation Minnesota

CM Press Release: Bemidji to Host Legacy Events June 11-15

-A full week highlighting legacy funded projects-

Bemidji, Minn. (2012) — Where the Father of Waters meets the Northwood’s tallest tale, there is something for every family this Father’s Day weekend as Bemidji hosts a Legacy Destination Bemidji’s schedule of activities expands though out the week of June 11-15.  Spotlight events include the Bemidji Book Festival, a historical look at Paul Bunyan, and an introduction to wildlife, fishing and archery that will help get people outside to enjoy a variety of summer activities offered in beautiful Bemidji area. To receive designation as a Legacy Destination, a City applies for the opportunity to highlight local projects that are supported by the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. The Legacy Weekends are a partnership of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, Conservation Minnesota, and Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office.

“Every weekend in Bemidji brings a wide variety of interesting events in which locals and visitors alike can participate,” said Denelle Hilliard, Executive Director of Visit Bemidji.  “And this year, we are picking an especially exciting weekend in the area, and encouraging people from all around to come check out what we have to offer.”

Minnesotans voted in 2008 to set aside an increased portion of sales tax revenue to provide financial support for a variety of conservation, parks and cultural programs.  The Legacy Destination Weekends program was created to draw attention to one region of the state a month so that projects supported by the Legacy Amendment can be highlighted.  In June, the tour stops in Bemidji.

Highlights of the weekend’s schedule are listed below.  A more detailed schedule of events is available online at:

  • Bemidji Library Book Festival  One of the highlights of this weekend in Bemidji is the Bemidji Book Festival, which has a series of readings and workshops slated for locations throughout town. Authors representing various genre include Carolyn Strom Collins, William Durbin, Anne Dunn, Laurie Hertzel, Margi Preus, Lise Erdrich, Nancy Carlson, Douglas Wood, Terri DeGezelle. Poetry slams and musical performances add to the mix of literary entertainment. Polar explorer, Ann Bancroft, will keynote the festival with a presentation on Friday night. An additional author reception and reading by Wendell Affield from his book Muddy Jungle Rivers, is sponsored by the Bemidji Community Art Center’s Spoken Word Series on Saturday afternoon.
  • Paul and Babe at 75.  This year marks the 75th anniversary of the iconic Paul and Babe statues that greet visitors as they come to town. John Berquist, one of the Minnesota’s most respected folklorists, will present traditional lumberjack songs and lore in a celebration of north woods heritage.  The Beltrami County Historical Center’s newest exhibit features Paul and Babe memorabilia from 1937 to present day.
  • Spitfire Grill theater production, runs Wednesday through Sunday.  The Paul Bunyan Playhouse will be staging performances of this award-winning musical.  It tells the story of a young woman recently released from prison who goes to work at a small-town diner.    The play runs nightly at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.
  • Kids Fishing Friday The first nine kids between the ages of 8 and 15 to register will be treated to a fishing lesson on Friday morning at Lake Bemidji State Park.
  • Archery in the Park Participants will be taught the basics of archery by trained instructors. No experience is needed. All equipment and instruction is free.  Open to anyone eight years old and up. Space is limited, so call to reserve a spot.
  • Canoe the Mississippi River Water Trail On Saturday, a Lake Bemidji State Park naturalist-guided canoe trip along the Mississippi River will give visitors and locals alike an explorer’s view of  a few miles of North America’s longest river often referred to as the “Father of Water’s” by early Native American inhabitants and authors.
  • Cookie Decorating Kids and adults alike will enjoy decorating Paul Bunyan shaped cookies at The Cabin Coffeehouse and Café, downtown Bemidji on Saturday afternoon.
  • Movie Night at the Waterfront  Gather the family, some blankets or lawn chairs and head to the Lake Bemidji waterfront for an outdoor movie viewing experience around dusk. Free admission, courtesy of the City of Bemidji Parks & Recreation Department.
  • Bogwatcher Sunday Naturalists from Lake Bemidji State Park will lead visitors on a walk along the boardwalk into the park’s bog to learn about the flora and fauna that makes bogs unique.
  • Outdoor Concert Series Father’s Day Sunday appropriately features a popular father/son duo performing at the Lake Bemidji State Park amphitheater.  Free concert begins at 1:30 pm.

Each of these events demonstrates the local benefits of Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment funding. Past/current recipients include:

Bemidji Book Festival:  2010 Legacy grant recipient

Paul Bunyan Playhouse:  2010 and 2011 Legacy grant recipient

Lake Bemidji State Park:  A 2010 Legacy grant brought art to the park

Beltrami County Historical Society:  Multiple Legacy projects, both alone and collaboratively.

The Legacy Weekend is a partnership between Conservation Minnesota, The Minnesota Citizens For The Arts, and Explore Minnesota Tourism.  Local partners include Visit Bemidji, Bemidji Public Library, Lake Bemidji State Park, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji Community Art Center and the City of Bemidji.

For more information, please contact Cindy Habedank at 877-250-5959 or visit

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