St. Urho's Day
By: © Nelson Taylor 2013
Festivals celebrating a population's heritage are common. Festivals celebrating Finnish heritage are less common. And a Finnish celebration like Hood River's St. Urho's Day held every March is not common at all. In fact, it's a little strange. Legend has it that back in the homeland St. Urho recognized that grasshoppers were destroying grape crops. And you know what that means, right? Those damn grasshoppers were cutting down on the country's quantity of wine. It's enough to make a Fin go bonkers. So sweet St. Urho grabbed a pitchfork and successfully banished all of the grasshoppers across the sea and into Ireland. But it wasn't until 1981, when Felix Tomlinson noticed that Hood River had a large Finnish population -- Alajoki's, Lingren's, Kesti's, Lahti's, etc. He organized some of them (three) and pulled off the first parade the quickly retired to the nearest bar.
Now a Queen is chosen every year, who is paraded through town in a brightly colored Urhomobile. Other paraders include the Finnish Drill Team (breasty women holding Black & Deckers that swirl Finnish flags; the Iron Maidens, who are viking-clothed vixens holding hockey sticks and wearing horned helmets; and at the front of the crowd (well, the whole shebang, paraders and spectators alike, is only about 100 people) is Tomlinson himself in his signature lime green polyester leisure suit. If you are one of the folks in the "crowd," lucky you; you get to pelt the paraders with grapes. Good random fun...nowhere else but Oregon.
St. Urho's Day - When, Where and More Info Please
The above snippet is just one of a collection of 240 off-beat articles on 2camels from Nelson Taylor's wonderful America Bizarro.
America Bizarro is a unique travel guide that celebrates humorously interesting, pop-culture kitschy and off-the-map odd festivals, out-of-the-way gatherings, kooky conventions, conferences and contests throughout the United States.
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