Wacky Tacky Minnesota
Best known to fans of the fantastical as the land of giant sculptures, Minnesota offers plenty of bizarre and humorous attractions.
You can make your own judgments about the exhibits at the Twin Cities’ larger art museums and sculpture parks, but many of the smaller galleries are brave enough to skirt the edges of wacky, if not tacky. And searching the Mall of America for tackiness is shooting fish in a barrel.
South of town, in Wykoff, the incomparable Ed’s Museum is all about one nobody and his stuff. You can’t seriously search for wacky and tacky Minnesota without seeing Austin’s SPAM Museum, Blue Earth’s 47-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant statue, Hooper-Bowler-Hillstrom House’s two-story outhouse in Belle Plaine, and Darwin’s giant twine ball.
There’s an abundance of oversized statuary farther north, in and around Fergus Falls, including the world’s largest otter, prairie chicken, and pelican. Brainerd is positively overrun with giant Paul Bunyan statues, including one that talks. There are also some giant walleye sculptures around Lake Mille Lacs and a fishing-bobber water tower in Pequot Lakes.
Bemidji’s Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues inspired the whole trend of oversized sculptures in Minnesota, and Akeley claims Minnesota’s tallest Paul Bunyan (well, he would be if he stood up).
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition