Bunyon statue to get a new coat of paint this weekend

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[August 23, 2016]   ATLANTA - On Saturday, August 27th, volunteers from the Illinois Rt. 66 Association’s Preservation Committee will come to Atlanta to repaint the Bunyon Giant statue [rain date of 8/28/16]. Work will commence at 10:00 a.m.

The Bunyon Giant was last painted in 2012.

The public is invited to come watch as the Bunyon Giant receives a fresh coat of paint. Painting will begin at approximately 10am on August 27th.

The Bunyon Giant – a 19 feet tall, fiberglass statue of a man holding a hot dog, is a Rt. 66 icon.

In 1965 H. A. Stephens purchased the giant, swapped its original axe for a hotdog, and placed it in front of his restaurant on Rt. 66 in Cicero, Illinois.

Mr. Stephens purposefully misspelled the name of his business "Bunyon’s" in order to avoid a potential trademark conflict with the Paul Bunyan Cafe. A legend was born, and over the next 38 years, "Bunyon’s Statue" became a Rt. 66 landmark. Stephens operated Bunyon’s through January 2003. At that time, he sold the real estate, and was faced with the prospect of relocating the giant.

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John and Lenore Weiss, representing the Preservation Committee of the Illinois Route 66 Association, approached the family. Even though large cash offers had been made for the giant, the Stephens family generously agreed to keep their Bunyon’s Statue on Route 66, so he could remain a Route 66 icon.

Because of its central location, enthusiasm, and support of Rt. 66, Atlanta, Illinois was chosen as the statue's new home.

Bunyon's Statue is now on loan to the community of Atlanta, where he graciously welcomes all Rt. 66 travelers and children to this friendly, hospitable community.

[Bill Thomas]

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