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St. Urho’s Day: Grasshopper hunting and fishing season a success

Wine bearer Bob Meyers sporting St. Urho’s colors at last week’s annual parade in Finland.1 / 3
Allen Anderson of the North Shore Tractor Club waves to the crowd from the seat of his vintage Allis-Chalmers tractor. 2 / 3
The Northshore Federal Credit Union got into the spirit of this year’s hunting and fishing theme at Finland’s St. Urho’s parade last weekend. 3 / 3

Ken Vogel

Finland area residents are resting up after a successful hopper season. Hundreds of spectators braved the cold temperatures and biting wind Saturday to attend the 39th annual St. Urho Day parade. Spirits were high among spectators of all ages as a record number of floats drove north on Hwy. 1 through the town.

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The celebration kicked off Friday night with the Miss Helmi contest. Contestants performed at Wildhurst, West Branch, Our Place and Four Seasons. Vying for the coveted title were Colin Bischoff, Tyler McMillian, Dane McMillian and Shawn Myers. Glamour alone was not enough claim the crown, contestants had to prove their talent by competing in several categories — animal calls, the outhouse run, worm handling, and most feminine. In the end Tyler (“Loaf”) McMillen, as Loafelia Chainsaw, was crowned 2014’s Miss Helmi.

“She did an amazing moose call that really won over the judges,” said event coordinator Honor Schauland, “Emcees Pat Ramsdell and Owen Klinker did a really good job and all of the contestants did really well. We appreciate what they go through to entertain us all. A big thanks to Don’s Auto for providing the vehicle for the contestants to ride in.”

Saturday’s events included a good turnout at the annual pancake breakfast sponsored by the Historical Society. The tug-of-war across the Baptism River was won by team Our Place. The day’s other activities were equally popular.

“The Polka music by Teresa and Terri Aho at the Clair Nelson Center was very nice and very well attended. There were a record number of participants in the kids’ games. They ran a jail as a fundraiser where you could pay a dollar to put someone in jail. One of my own personal highlights was paying a dollar to put Sheriff Carey Johnson in jail,” recalled Schauland, “he was a good sport about it. Another highlight was the good job law enforcement did keeping everyone safe, as well as Adam’s Auto providing a sober cab. People really appreciate that.”

Local resident and Fire

Department captain

Chris Sinderman was enthusiastic about the weekend as a whole.“ I personally love the event. It’s a great way to celebrate the Finnish heritage and visit with friends and relatives.” Sinderman said he recalled his grandmother taking him to the parade as a child.

“I would collect candy then, but as I grew up I became involved in float building, and then with the Lake County Rescue Squad selling food at the fire hall,” he said.

Sinderman is not alone in keeping the Finlander tradition going strong. Pictured in last week’s Lake County News-Chronicle were several kids involved in float building for this year’s event, ensuring the survival of the festival in the future.

“I think the biggest thanks go out to Honnor Schauland for keeping the spirit of St. Urho’s Day going, and Cheri Bischoff for keeping the parade going after Carol & Elwood Youngberg retired from doing the parade for many years. Hats off to all the helpers and volunteers it couldn’t happen without all there help.” Sinderman said.

Photos by Ken Vogel