BEMIDJI, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s the time of year when ‘CCOers get out of downtown Minneapolis and head out to ice-covered lakes.
This week, Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer headed up to Bemidji, home of the giant Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues.
The statues were built in 1937. Paul is 18 feet tall and weighs two-and-a-half tons.
And just a few feet away in the Bemidji Tourism Building, you can find all kinds of fun things about Paul Bunyan and Babe.
The first thing Frank and Chris did when they stopped at the tourism building was sign the guest book. But when they took a look around, they found that everything is a little bit bigger in there — and that’s because it belongs to Mr. Bunyan.
From his giant toothbrush, to his shot gun and even his phone — they’re all huge. And imagine the trophy fish you could reel in with his fishing pole!
Once they were done hanging with Paul and Babe, they went down the street to find Bemidji’s cool little downtown area.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants, and even a craft brewery to check out. And it’s all just a few steps away from Lake Bemidji.
You’ll also find the Historic Chief Theater, which is now home to the Paul Bunyan Playhouse.
Oh, and a viewer spotted Chris and Frank pushing the Mobile Weather Watcher to a gas station! Doh!
Frank & Chris Arrive In Bemidji, Run Out Of Gas
Bemidji is known for its Olympic curlers, but there’s another sport gaining in popularity — professional indoor football.
The game is fast compared to the NFL, and the length of the field is just 50 yards.
They also use a ball that is a little smaller and a little lighter, which means you’ll see some rocket passes.
The first game of the season is Sunday in Bemidji versus the Minnesota Sting, which is a minor league team.
The Bemidji Airmen
Lake Bemidji covers just over 6,500 acres and it offers up some great fishing, but that’s not all.
This weekend on Lake Bemidji is Winterfest, and you’ll see folks playing pond hockey and even curling out on the ice.
Another thing you’ll find on Lake Bemidji is a parking lot. Students over at Bemidji State University will use the lake to park their cars in the winter for free.
BSU is located right on the shores of the lake, and is home to around 5,000 students.
Chris And Frank Visit Lake Bemidji
When folks first came to Bemidji, logging was huge — and that meant those loggers needed warm clothes so they could work in the winter.
And that’s where Bemidji Woolen Mills comes into the picture.
They made a special jacket for Nelson Mandela, and also a varsity sweater for Billy Crystal and John Goodman as part of Pixar’s promotion of the movie “Monsters University.”
You don’t have to come up to Bemidji to get something from the Woolen Mills — you can also place orders on their website.
Frank & Chris Visit Bemidji Woolen Mills
After a long day of curling, Frank and Chris found the perfect place to sit down and relax – at Bemidji Brewing in downtown Bemidji.
It was started by a couple of buddies who went to Bemidji State University and loved brewing beers, and the business has really taken off.
They brewed their first beer in 2012 out of a local community kitchen, and by the summer of 2013 they had opened their great tap room.
“I went to school here and it was the classic Bud, Miller and Coors on tap, and it was really tough to find a good craft beer,” head brewer Tom Hill said.
Hill brews up just about everything, from rustic farmhouse ales to traditional English ales.
He says folks up here in Bemidji really like the hoppy beers, so you’ll typically see quite a few IPAs on tap, but you can also find a good porter as well.
Bemidji Brewing & Winter Fest
Curling is a pretty much king in Bemidji.
They’ve got Olympic curlers, and one of the biggest groups of junior curlers in the world.
So it only made sense that Frank and Chris would track down some of the best to show them how it’s done.
Frank & Chris Learn Curling In Bemidji
Here are links for the places Frank and Chris visited on Thursday:
Bemidji Woolen Mills
Bemidji Curling Club
Here are highlights from other Goin’ To The Lake trips:
Watch the past ‘Goin’ To The (Frozen) Lake’ segments.
Watch the past ‘Goin’ To The Lake’ segments.