Paul Bunyan Days

Paul Bunyan Days is my favourite coastal parade. And coming from someone who adores parades, that’s quite a thing to say.

I used to think it was Mendo Fourth of July, but I’ve switched loyalties to Paul Bunyan Days. Paul Bunyan Days has guns, controversy, Mexican trick riders, a Kangeroo Kort, Shriners, and worried looking lefties. In Mendo, it’s float after float of delerious hippies. In Fort Bragg, it’s America First, Logging Forever, Belle of the Redwoods action with clusters of strained peaceniks sandwiched in between. It’s fire trucks and rescue vehicles, the Ugly Dog Contest, and a man driving a tank.

As Paul Bunyan Days approached this year, I got worried. I pride myself for being your woman on the street for all coastal parade action. I know that you, dear readers, have come to expect a certain…quality when it comes to parade reportage, and that quality is just not the same without images.

After the tragic demise of the camera, how could I come through for you?

Luckily for all of us, a loyal reader very generously and kindly donated the use of her Fujifilm A340 4 megapixel camera. Not, perhaps, the finest of photographing tools, but hey. It’s a camera, and it works, and it documented some awesome parade action for you all today. Since her camera is on indefinite loan, you can look forward to a return of photoblogging, and everyone be sure and thank baxt for the return of images to this ain’t livin’. Another reader is trying to restore the Canon to life, and thinks it may be possible to restore the Powershot to its former glory. Or at least get the photos that were on it off.

So, without further ado, may I present: Paul Bunyan Days 2006.

Paul Bunyan

Led by Paul Bunyan himself, of course.

mendocino redwood company logging truck

One interesting thing about the parade was the large number of logging trucks represented. Given that we don’t really have a logging industry anymore, I’m not sure where they rounded them all up, but some heavyweights of coastal logging including Mendocino Redwood Company (pictured above), Campbell Timber Products, and Philbrick, showed up to represent. When this truck went by, my father turned to me and said: “where do you think they found those logs?”

logging truck covered in flowers

The gentler side of logging. Are those pictures of unicorns on the side of the truck? You decide.

Westport Fire Department

Westport Fire Department was representing with this fine float. I’m not sure what it had to do with firefighting, but you know what, it was pretty cool anyway. Remember folks, Westport is the town where you hire a hitman if you’re having a dispute with the water board.

Mexican trick riders

I don’t know if this picture adequately conveys this, but several of these horses are actually being ridden sideways, in a fascinating crabstepping gait. They were also trotting in time to the music. I love the trick riders. They are truly awesome, and the horses were very calm and well collected, unlike some other equine entries who obviously hadn’t been consulted about their role in the parade.

I especially adore the palamino in the rear of this shot.

man in a tank

Tank guy comes to every Paul Bunyan Days with his armored personnel carrier from the 1940s. He always festoons it with British flags, an obscure tradition and a dangerous one in the city of Fort Bragg. His float is always met with a moment of puzzlement and then loud cheers. Next year, some friends of mine have decided to storm the tank with me. But it’s still awesome. Awesome, I tell you, to see a tank rolling down the streets of Fort Bragg.

Humboldt State Marching Lumberjacks

The Marching Lumberjacks always form the end of the parade, and they are spectacular. Truly, they make the scene for me.

Humboldt State Marching Lumberjacks

These images don’t really show you how awesome the Lumberjacks are. The lady leading with the trumpet? AWESOME.

The Lumberjacks are interesting because they don’t require that you know how to play an instrument to join. They also don’t really have a uniform, other than green on the bottom and a Lumberjacks shirt on top, and you can see that utilized in a variety of ways. They also don’t really march in formation, per say–they make every parade a funtime party experience. I adore them. I want to be a Marching Lumberjack when I grow up, as well as a zookeeper. How can you have so much fun being a band nerd? It’s amazing.

Tomorrow: more photos from Paul Bunyan Days. (You didn’t think I’d leave a parade chronicle without hippies up, did you?)

[Paul Bunyan Days]
[Fort Bragg]