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Buena Vista Logging Days honors heritage of lumberjacks, early logging

Larry and Linda Miller of Bemidji take off in a sleigh pulled by their horse, Lonnie, Saturday at the 26th annual Buena Vista Logging Days at the Buena Vista Logging Village north of Bemidji. (Michelle Bedard/Pioneer)1 / 3
Josh Gilbertson, 7, of Puposky prepares to do some roping Saturday at Buena Vista Logging Days. (Michelle Bedard/Pioneer)2 / 3
At far left, Gerald Robertson of Osage helps Terrance Jefferson, 7, of Laporte and Frankie Tuttle, 8, of Cass Lake, right, use a ribbon saw Saturday at Buena Vista Logging Days. (Michelle Bedard/Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI - Wesley Luggar of Shevlin remembers doing everything by hand - "the hard way" - when he was an area logger.

"It's a lot different now," he said. "Now they've got machines to do all the work."

Luggar was among many locals and visitors who stopped by the 26th annual Buena Vista Logging Days Saturday at the Buena Vista Logging Village north of Bemidji.

"I like to reminisce about the old times logging," said Luggar, who has been attending Logging Days since it started in 1984. "I come up every year."

Logging Days coordinator Liz Letson said the annual festival is a day to take a step back in time and experience working with horses, hopping on a sleigh, eating a flapjack meal and many other activities.

In the early 1980s, Letson's father, Earle Dickinson, along with Leonard Dickinson, Ben Rajala and the Schussman family, established Logging Days to honor and preserve the heritage of lumberjacks and early logging in Minnesota.

Michael and Erin Pfleegor of Blackduck attended Logging Days for the first time Saturday. They brought their children, Parker, 3, Jonah, 2, and Gwyneth, 4 months, with them.

"We wanted to come last year, but it was so cold," Erin Pfleegor said.

Before eating a flapjack breakfast in the Blacksmith Shop, the Pfleegors took a sleigh ride in the village area.

"The boys liked that," Erin Pfleegor said.

The family looked forward to other activities after breakfast.

"I'd like to see some of the contests," Michael Pfleegor said.

The contests planned for the day included crosscut saw contests, skidding contests, a log scaling contest, roping contests and a lumberjack costume contest.

For all 26 years, Harvey Newby of Bemidji has attended Logging Days. In years past at the festival, he drove teams of horses for sleigh rides.

"It's a good thing for the community," Newby said of Logging Days.