You don’t have to look hard in Minnesota to spot the loon, its state bird. But only one small city boasts the honor of being the nesting grounds for the world’s largest floating loon.
The 20-foot-long loon was devised in 1982 as an attraction to draw visitors to the annual Land of the Loon Ethnic Arts and Crafts Festival. The fiberglass and metal statue was built by local artist William Martin and is launched into Silver Lake every spring.
The big bird bobs in the waves all summer, though it can’t go too far. A strong cable anchored to the bottom of the lake keeps the loon from floating too far from shore. Once the weather grows cold, the statue is hauled back onto solid ground and put in storage for the season.
The enormous floating bird is one of the many joys of the festival, which is held every June and celebrates the cultures and traditions of Northeastern Minnesota. The two-day festival features a parade, live ethnic music, arts and crafts, and a variety of local foods and drinks.
Know Before You Go
The loon can be seen from all sides of Silver Lake. To find the small lake, head for the baby blue Virginia water tower or the Municipal Power Plant, both of which loom over the lake. The Land of the Loon festival is held yearly in Olcott Park on the third full weekend in June.