Byway Bylines: The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway's column called Byway Bylines is back

Find out more about Paul and Babe's stompin' grounds in the northern Brainerd lakes area

On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association will team up for Crosslake WinterFest's annual SoupFest from noon-3 p.m. at the Crosslake Recreation Area.
Contributed / Lynn Scharenbroich

CROSSLAKE — Everyone loves a great story!

Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway's 54 miles pass through 14 local jurisdictions that Paul Bunyan fondly referred to as "Paul and Babe's Stompin' Grounds," and they are brimming with old and new stories to share — stories influenced by resources to tout, funding to contribute, people to celebrate, dreams in progress and unique and special features and events to add to the overall scenic byway story.

Our scenic byway spotlight this week is on Crosslake and its annual WinterFest SoupFest, held from noon to 3 p.m. (or until the soup's gone!) Saturday, Feb. 4. The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association and its partner, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Crosslake Recreation Area, will once again serve a heckuva dandy Paul Bunyan inspired soup cooked camp style over an open fire for your winter slurping enjoyment.

Make tasty s'mores at the campfire. Explore inside to color and print kids T-shirts, and vote for the best in the 2023 coloring contest, all age groups.

Competing with more than 25 other Crosslake Chamber member businesses for the SoupFest's coveted Golden Ladle, the USACE/PBSBA team has a Bunyan legacy of inspired soup-making to lean on, from grand stories of Pea Soup Shorty to Sourdough Sam’s mystery-of-yum soup story uncovered by the late tall tale writer and Bunyan afficionado, Dave Skyberg.


A snip from Dave’s story below is just a “thinkin’ appetizer."

So c’mon over to the Crosslake Recreation Area on Saturday, Feb. 4. Have a taste of the real thing and learn the rest of the story. Bring along a hunk of sourdough bread if you want.

Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association logo 2023.jpg
Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Assocation logo
Contributed / Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association

"What's This in My Soup?"

"Don’t ask. That’s what Sourdough Sam would always say. 

"He would never tell us what the soup was. It was just 'the soup.' And we were happy to have it. After all, the winters are long and cold, and loggin’ is a hard job. Sam’s soups and stews were just the ticket for warmin’ up your belly and your spirits, especially when you had a big hunk of sourdough bread to dunk in it."

It’s 2023 and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway celebrates 25 years as a state-designated Minnesota byway and 17 years as a nationally designated byway.

The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and enhancing resources along the 54 miles of its route. For more information, contact a board member at

Lynn Scharenbroich and Mary Plein are Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association board members.

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