Wednesday, May 27, 2009 By Aaron Brown
Mesaba Park’s 80th anniversary Midsummer Festival will take place June 19-21 at Mesaba Co-op Park east of Hibbing. The theme of the festival is “Sustaining the Future Since 1929: Cooperating for 80 Years.”Mesaba Park is a true northern Minnesota gem, if only for the history you absorb when you go there. It's a fun place, too, regardless of your political orientation.
Events begin Friday evening, June 19, with a lakeside bar-b-que and music jam lead by Pat Eliason and other area artists. Saturday, June 20th, offers a luncheon prior to the speakers’ program in the historic Mesaba Park pavilion. At 1 p.m., Dr. Arnold Alanen, University of Wisconson, Madison, will speak on “The Early History of Minnesota’s Finnish Cooperatives and Mesaba Co-op Park.” Professor Pam Brunfelt from Vermilion Community College in Ely will present on “Finnish Cooperatives and the Creation of a Unique Political Culture on the Iron Range.”
At 4 p.m. Saturday, Terrence Smith leads the annual Maypole Dance, followed by a social hour, and a special dinner by organic caterer Sheila Weidendorf of Minneapolis. At 7:30 p.m., Pat Surface and the Boundary Water Boys play a concert of bluegrass, Celtic and Americana music in the pavilion dance hall. The group is comprised of award-winning musicians playing acoustic string instruments. They are joined by Donna Surface, a performance artist in sign for the deaf. This popular group offers something for everyone. After the concert, the “Mesaba Park Band” takes the stage for a rousing all-ages dance, followed by lakeside reflections, and the traditional midnight bonfire.
On Sunday, June 21, a pancake breakfast precedes the Park’s annual member meeting. At Noon, a lunch of beef and vegetarian mojakka will be served. The festival concludes at 1 p.m., with a poetry reading lead by John David Schirber, and other poets. This program will also feature prose and storytelling.
A festival weekend pass costs $10. Camping is free. Meals, t-shirts and memorabilia are available for additional cost. Mesaba Park is located at 3827 Mesaba Park Road, near the intersection of Hwy. 37 and Co. Rd. 5 North. For more information and a complete schedule of events, call 218/262-1350, or visit our website: www.mesabapark.com
UPDATE: Link is fixed now.