Grasshoppers and Grapes: Celebrating 45th Annual St. Urho’s Day

The tradition continued despite Coronavirus concerns.

FINLAND, Minn.- Despite Coronavirus fears shutting down many public events across the country, hundreds of people filled Highway 1 in Finland for the 45th annual St. Urho’s Day Parade.

It’s like the Mardi Gras of Minnesota, filling the Highway with green and purple. “I think it’s fabulous. It’s nice to see all these people come together and be happy,” Twin Cities native Liz Draper said.

As always, the story behind the holiday has yet to reach some first timer’s ears at the parade.

“Something about Grasshoppers and grapes,” said Draper’s friend Dana Miles.

The original myth goes that St. Urho chased a plague of frogs from Finland.

“Mythical St. Urho trying to get rid of all the Grasshoppers, save the crops,” Derek Allen said, attending his second St. Urho’s Day.

The plague then changed in Bemidji to Grasshoppers who were consuming the grape crop that would become wine in ancient Finland. “Good enough reason to have a parade I think,” said Draper.

The Parade brings everyone of all ages out in their St. Urho’s Day best.

“It’s cool to see a town where everybody comes out and is reall;y into the festival from every step of the way from start to finish,” Allen said, dressed in a purple suit and fedora.

“Nobody cares if it’s a mythical thing or not, everybody’s just out here to have a good time.”

A good time, that many feared wouldn’t happen this year with many large public gatherings cancelling or postponing due to fears of Coronavirus spreading.

“We weren’t sure it was gonna happen this year but thankfully it did,” I got my Purell with me, we’re ok,” said Allen.

But all the Urho believers feel that no matter what comes their way, the Saint’s got their back.

When asked if he thinks St. Urho could chase away the Coronavirus, Miles replied “Easily, easily.”

“He could. St. Urho can do anything,” said Allen.

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