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St. Urho’s Day royalty: Caren Erickson of Kingsford and Don Wolf of Iron River.

St. Urho’s Day royalty: Caren Erickson of Kingsford and Don Wolf of Iron River.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Members and friends of the Iron Mountain area Raja Ryhma Finnish American organization enjoyed an afternoon of St. Urho’s Day festivities March 14 at the Recreation Lanes Antoine Room in Iron Mountain.

The colors of royal purple and green dominated the scene and many of the 42 guests wore pins with the image of St. Urho. Before the buffet meal served by Zollner’s Catering, Arlene Huotari welcomed attendees and offered prayer.

According to legend, when an enormous flock of grasshoppers had threatened to destroy the grape crop in Finland many years ago, St. Urho chased them away with a few select words, “Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, mene taalta hiiteen”“Grasshopper, grasshopper, go away” — and saved the grape crop. St. Urho definitely is to be celebrated for that great feat and a grape juice toast was shared in his honor.

This year, Don Wolf of Iron River was the lucky guy drawn from the names to be St. Urho for the day and Caren Erickson of Kingsford was crowned as his Queen of the Vineyard. They led the grand march as the lighthearted celebration of St. Urho’s Day continued.

Great conversation and music played by Paula D made for a lively afternoon.

“Thanks to the family of Elaine and Melvin Johnson; their generous memorial contribution earmarked for music at our Raja Ryhma events helped to defray costs of our celebration this year,” member Karen Wertanen said. “Elaine and Melvin were longtime members who are missed.”

Planning already is under way for the annual Juhannus midsummer celebration scheduled for Saturday, June 20, at the City Park in Iron Mountain. More details about this event will be announced at a later date.

“You don’t have to be a Finn to join in the fun, just like being with Finns,” she said. “We’re happy to have you with us.”

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