Crowds Gather In Finland Minnesota To Celebrate St. Urho's Day

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Mar 13, 2010 at 8:16 PM CDT

It's that time of year again, and no we're not talking about Saint Patrick's Day.

It was the Saint Urho's who was celebrated today in Finland, Minnesota. Elayne Crecelius was there and has the story.

Purple and green were the colors of the day, and while the weather was less than desirable, the town of Finland gathered along the main road for a parade in honor of Saint Urho.

Mike "Finnigan" Nikula says while the parade is something to behold now, it wasn't always such a spectacle.

"It started out with a couple flat bed truck and a couple trailers and it started getting more and more bigger themes and bigger floats...pretty good parties."

This year was the thirty–fifth anniversary of the Saint Urho's celebration.

The small down of Finland, Minnesota grows exponentially on this weekend, from around two hundred to almost one thousand.

People from all over the state make their way up north for this festival.

Bernarski lives in White Bear Lake but is originally from the Finland area. He says coming up for the celebration is a high point of the year for him and his sons.

"My boys and I usually come up here and go snowmobiling and take in all the festivities of Saint Urho's...make it a kind of get away weekend for the boys and come up here and have a good time."

The legend of Saint Urho's says the saint drove the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland and saved the grape crops.

Grasshoppers and grapes could be seen all over the faces and clothing of parade watchers.

Nikula says different themes make the celebration different each year, however one theme will always remain.

"We try to have a different theme every year and some times we just do whatever we feel like doing Finlander stuff."

The parade is only one of the many festivities going on throughout Finland the rest of the weekend.

Today's parade for Saint Urho is the only parade in Minnesota that shuts down a state highway.