Lumberjack Day Fills The Pre-Halloween Holiday Void
Between July 4th and Halloween is a 115-day holiday desert. Sure, Labor Day, the beginning of the school year, and the start of fall are in there, but there’s no real dress-up and party holiday. Thankfully, we now have Lumberjack Day.
Lumberjack Day is a time when Americans of all occupations and backgrounds take a moment to remember the proud men and women who make the lumber and paper industries possible. We celebrate by eating pancakes, wearing flannel, growing beards (or wearing fake ones), talking like a lumberjack, and eating mozzarella sticks.
Yes, this is a thing.
It’s an ironic homage for sure, but for the young adults drowning in the joyless late-summer/early-fall holiday wasteland, it’s taken very seriously:
Since 2005, Colleen AF Venable and Marianne Ways have organized the annual holiday to celebrate lumberjacks and the lumberjack lifestyle in that bastion of arboreal culture: Brooklyn, NY. According to Venable, the holiday is largely “an excuse to eat pancakes, dress in flannel, grow out a beard, and yell TIMBEEERRR.”
The holiday is held every September 26th, exactly one week after the slightly older and similarly Internet famous “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” (yes, this too a thing). “It started as a counter to Talk Like a Pirate Day," said Venable. "Marianne and I decided that the natural enemy of the Pirate is the Lumberjack, so to get back at our friends talking with all arrrr's, we attacked with axes and maple syrup exactly a week later.”
Both holidays, which glorify the semi-historically accurate depictions of outmoded archetypes, have been able to capitalize on the holiday abyss surrounding the autumnal equinox. The event has less to do with paying homage to the forest workers of the northwest, than what co-creator Ways describes as “really just an excuse to see as many of my friends at one time. And the pancakes.”
By 2007, Lumberjack Day was attracting 50 attendees to Brooklyn’s famous Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery. From there—following the launch of the official Lumberjack Day website—the holiday transformed from small get-together into an annual event with celebrations across the US and even as far as Scotland, Japan, and London.
How You Too Can Be A Lumberjack
The Brooklyn branch of Lumberjack Day has since moved on to Bubby’s. Last year, the diner supplied special pumpkin pancakes as well as fried okra which organizer Colleen Venable has since “decided is a lumberjack food… mostly because I love it.” Other “traditional” lumberjack attributions germinating from the Brooklyn celebration have included mozzarella sticks (or “anything deep fried, because a Lumberjack needs their strength”) and drinking White Russians (because what else would a lumberjack drink).
While the celebrations may play somewhat fast with what constitutes being officially lumberjackian, there is a core to the event. Here’s how you can prepare your own lumberjack celebration:
Specifically, revelers should dress in plaid flannel. You probably have some in your closet, but any big box store will have a new version for cheap. Suspenders, jeans, and boots work too. Of course, you also need a beard. If you can’t grow one due to gender, occupation, or other circumstance, you can always make one out of felt as is the Brooklyn Lumberjack Day tradtion. OR as the holiday falls near the beginning of Halloween season, costume beards, axes, and other assorted paraphernalia are readily available.
And of course, any celebration will revolve around the consumption of pancakes. There are a number of pancake-centric establishments, however any diner or traditional American-type establishment that has the ability for pancake-making will do. And as seen above, any additional food that you like should fit the lumberjack lifestyle just fine.
So, is it a completely made-up holiday that has little to do with it’s original intent? Yes. But, given time, isn’t that how most holidays evolved? Did the ancient Celts foresee their primordial Halloween harvest festival bringing about Avenger costumes? When Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving” in 1863, did he know it would almost always conclude with painfully full people watching football? We’re going to assume no. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that as this tradition spreads, Lumberjack Day may become another event to reconnect with friends and family that we can depend on year after year.
See you on the 26th!