St. Urho’s Day event enjoyed by Finns and friends

Paul Conners served as St. Urho for the day at the annual St. Urho’s Day festivities in Iron Mountain. His daughter, Katrina Conners, was crowned Queen of the Vineyard.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Members and friends of the Iron Mountain area Raja Ryhma Finnish American organization enjoyed an afternoon of St. Urho’s Day festivities on March 11, at the Recreation Lanes Antoine Room in Iron Mountain.

The colors of royal purple and green dominated the scene and many of the 46 guests wore pins with the image of St. Urho.

Prior the buffet meal served by Zollner’s Catering, Doug Karttunen shared some historic information about the legend of this mythical hero, which originated in the mind of a Finnish-American, Richard Mattson, from Virginia, Minn., almost 70 years ago.

Sally Karttunen then read her original “Ballad of St. Urho.”

Since St. Urho definitely is to be celebrated for his feat of saving Finland’s grape crop from poisonous frogs — the first version– or ravenous grasshoppers — the later version — simply by saying a few choice words, “Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, mene taalta hiiteen!” those present then shared a toast of grape juice in his honor. When translated the phrase means, “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go away!” Arlene Huotari then offered a mealtime prayer.

Paul Conners was the lucky guy drawn from the names of attendees to be St. Urho for the day and his daughter, Katrina, was crowned as Queen of the Vineyard. They led the Grand March as the lighthearted celebration of St. Urho continued with great conversation and enjoyable guitar music played by Bob Larson.

Karen Wertanen, a member and treasurer of Raja Ryhma, said planning is already underway for the annual Juhannus midsummer celebration which is scheduled for Saturday, June 17, at the City Park in Iron Mountain.

Those interested in attending should watch for more details about this event and save the date on their calendars.

Remember, you don’t have to be a Finn to join in the fun; just enjoy being with Finns. They’re happy to have you with them.


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