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2014 St. Urho’s Day events run from Friday, March 14-16 in Menahga

Bar stool races on Spirit Lake have become an annual tradition in Menahga.

By Anna Erickson

Menahga will host the St. Urho’s Day event starting Friday, March 14.

St. Urho Day is typically celebrated on March 16, the day prior to the better-known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who allegedly drove the snakes from that island.

According to legend, St. Urho chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by uttering the phrase: “Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen!” This roughly translates into “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”

His feast is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture.

Nowhere is the celebration more festive than in Menahga, self-declared “Home of St. Urho.”

Events start at 7 p.m. Friday, March 14, with the opening ceremonies to honor past St. Urho kings and queens and crowning of the 2014 St. Urho King and Queen at the high school.

After the reading of the proclamation and crowning will be a performance by magician/comedian Jeffrey Salveson. A $5 St. Urho button will grant admission to the Friday events. T-shirts also will be available.

Buttons are available at Shell Sport & Bait, Chuck’s Country Foods, C-Store, BP Orton’s, The Clean Plate, 1st National Bank, Cottage House, TruStar Federal Credit Union and at the door the evening of the event.

A corned beef, cabbage and meatball supper is at the Menahga VFW from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday. A meat raffle is at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW followed by Urho trivia at 7.

On Saturday, a pancake breakfast is served from 8-11 a.m. at the Menahga Community Center. The St. Urho Volleyball Tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Menahga School gymnasium. Teams should pre-register by contacting Cody Geiser at 218-371-6596 or

St. Urho’s Day “Kahvi Aika” is from 10 a.m. to noon at the Menahga Museum. They will be serving hot chocolate, coffee and Finnish Pulla Bread. Horse drawn wagon rides will be at the east side of the school from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. A bean bag tournament is at 11 a.m. at the Menahga VFW followed by a mojakka feed from noon to 8 p.m. also at the VFW.

At noon, the Nytes of St. Urho march to the St. Urho statue and pay respects to the Finnish saint by participating in a playful twist on the “changing of the guards.”

A short parade follows, at about 12:15 p.m. in downtown Menahga.

The annual bar stool race starts at 1 p.m. at the Spirit Lake beach.

On Sunday is a new event, the Blueberry Pines St. Urho Charity Snow Sculpture Contest. The contest starts at 11 a.m. Food shelf donations will be accepted.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561