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Finland to celebrate St. Urho

A contestant in the Miss Helmi Talent and Beauty Contest waves to the crowd gathered to watch the parade as part of the St. Urho Celebration in Finland. (News-Chronicle file photo)

Wearing purple and green outfits, residents of Finnish heritage will celebrate the 43rd annual St. Urho's Celebration in the town of Finland next weekend.

The celebration, from Friday, March 16, through Sunday, March 18, celebrates St. Urho, the fictional saint of Finland who is storied to have driven the grasshoppers out of Finland. The holiday originated in Virginia, Minn., in the 1950s.

Event coordinator Honor Schauland said the festival is a way for residents to celebrate their heritage.

"It's a way for a lot of Finns in the area to reconnect with their cultural roots," said.

Schauland said the parade Saturday is the biggest event, but suggested people over age 21 join in for drinks, live music and dancing Friday night. A "sober cab" provided by Adam's Automotive in Silver Bay will be available.

"For folks that come up to visit, a lot of times it's an annual tradition. And so we can get to see people we haven't seen in quite a while, sometimes for a whole year," Schauland said. "It's kind of like a reunion."

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. Friday with the Miss Helmi Talent and Beauty Contest making stops through town, followed by live music at West Branch and Four Seasons.

Saturday's pancake breakfast begins at 8 a.m. at the Clair Nelson Center. Teams will compete in a tug of war across the Baptism River at noon, followed by the parade from noon to 1 p.m. The parade route passes through Finland via Highway 1.

"No matter who you are, it's fun," Schauland said. "And an excuse to get out after you've been cooped up all winter."

Jimmy Lovrien

Jimmy Lovrien is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. He spent the summer of 2015 as an intern for the Duluth News Tribune and was hired full time in October 2017 as a reporter for the Weekly Observer. He also reported for the Lake County News-Chronicle in 2017-18. Lovrien grew up in Alexandria, Minn., but moved to Duluth in 2013 to attend The College of St. Scholastica. Lovrien graduated from St. Scholastica in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in English and history. He also spent a summer studying journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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