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Large crowd attends Snellman Days

Laura Pihlaja, at right, calls out bingo for her younger brother William Pihlaja, at left, and Nicholas Olson at the annual Snellman Days festival Saturday. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
Doc Anderson won this year's drawing for Snellman mayor at the Snellman Days event Saturday. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

The tiny town of Snellman, west of Osage on Highway 34, was booming Saturday for the annual festival.

The town has no official population but a few dedicated people continue to sponsor Snellman Days, a tradition spanning six years.

Doc and Joanie Anderson, owners of the Snellman Store, and Aune Longfors, owner of Aune's Kauppala, also in Snellman, organized the event. "Kauppala" means "store" in Finnish.

Longfors said there is a lot of Finnish tradition in the Snellman area. Many who attended the event live in the area.

Others just happened to stop by as they drove along Highway 34 between Park Rapids and Detroit Lakes, curious about the gathering.

This year's event seemed to go even better than last year, Longfors said.

"There are definitely a lot more people here," she said. "And a lot more vendors, a lot more fun."

A brunch hosted by Gethsemane Lutheran Church kicked off the celebration at 8 a.m. followed by a classic car show.

Vendors were scattered around the two stores, located at the center of town. People sold everything from clothing to antiques to canned goods. Plenty of food was available for tasting as well.

Corn was being cooked over a fire pit and hot turkey sandwiches were available.

Kids had fun participating in a game or two of bingo and the watermelon eating contest. Laura Philaja called out bingo numbers while younger brother William and Nicholas Olson studied their bingo cards. They live in the Snellman area.

At noon, the famous drawing for mayor was held. This year, Doc Anderson, owner of the Snellman Store, was named mayor.

Traditionally, there has been a "changing of the guard" ceremony for the current mayor to pass the title. However, last year's mayor, Eddie Hosch, was unable to attend. He gives his best to the new mayor, though, Longfors said.

Anderson will hold the title until next year's drawing.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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