Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Celebrating 30 years of Ma & Pa Kettle Days


Linda and Bob Kuhlman, 2014 Ma and Pa Kettle, wear T-shirts from the recent Kuhlman reunion at their farm.

It has been 30 years since community leaders came up with the idea of Ma and Pa Kettle Days, and the annual celebration continues this weekend, Friday, August 8 and Saturday, August 9, in Kettle River.

Each year, Miss Kettle River and her court are chosen from contestants in a pageant on Friday evening at 6 p.m. in the American Legion Building, which is located in the center of town next to Tower Tap Bar & Grill.

The grand marshal and Ma and Pa Kettle, who have been chosen at an earlier date, are recognized at the pageant.

This year, Nettie Illikainen will lead the parade as the grand marshal. It is a very special honor for her because she will be remembering her mother, Amelia Sarvela, who was the first Ma Kettle 30 years ago.

Linda and Bob Kuhlman will be honored as Ma and Pa Kettle this year.

The weekend's fun always starts out with the steak fry at 5 p.m. Friday evening at the fire hall and Senior Citizens Building. The steaks are grilled by the volunteer firefighters of the community. The Kettle River Fireman's Relief Association sponsors the steak fry.

People are encouraged to arrive early to be sure to get a steak. The steak fry includes a full meal, with potatoes and a vegetable.

After the pageant, there is a kids dance at the American Legion Building at 7 p.m.

Tower Tap sponsors a street dance for adults from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

This year, the Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels football players will come into town early on Saturday morning and clean up the litter left after the festivities on Friday night.

Members of Hope Lutheran Church of Moose Lake will be serving a pancake breakfast at the Senior Citizens Building starting at 7 a.m.

The flea market opens on the street just beyond the Senior Citizens Building at 8 a.m.

Runners will be registering for the Ma and Pa Run/Walk between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. at the corner of County Road 12 and Highway 73, and the run begins at 8 a.m. Contact Jen at (218) 390-1096 for more information.

The big event, the parade, starts lining up on the ball field by County Road 12 at 9 a.m. Contact Linda at (218) 273-4783 for more information.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. and will feature Grand Marshal Nettie Illikainen, Ma and Pa Kettle Linda and Bob Kuhlman, and Miss Kettle River and her court.

The festivities continue after the parade with the Mud Bog at 1 p.m. Enter the Mud Bog spectator area between the former co-op store and the post office.

Kids, parents and grandparents will have a chance to see zoo animals at the playground beginning at 1 p.m. brought by the Lake Superior Zoomobile.

Check in on the Silent Auction at the American Legion Building from 1-3 p.m. and bid on the many items that will be on the auction.

The festivities end with another street dance, beginning at 9 p.m. sponsored by Tower Tap.

The Rebels players will once again come in Sunday morning and clean up the litter.

Nettie Illikainen, who will be honored as the 2014 Ma and Pa Kettle Days grand marshal, pauses for a photo before adding more nectar to a hummingbird feeder.

It will be a busy weekend in the area. Families are planning reunions and get-togethers.

The Sarvela family reunion will be held on Sunday at the Senior Citizens Building.

Another performance of the play "When We Come to Cut the Grass," written by Dan Reed of Kettle River, will be performed on Thursday, August 7 at the Soumalainen Kirkko (the old Kalevala Finnish church), located four miles north of Kettle River on Highway 73, at 7 p.m.

On Sunday, August 9, residents and former residents of Automba Township will celebrate the township's centennial at the Automba Town Hall, located on County Road 6, six miles west of Highway 73. The program begins at 2 p.m. and features the singing of Finlandia, with Harold Haapoja and kantele music, vignettes from the township's history, including a scene from the 1918 Fire that destroyed the homes and lives of so many of the residents, and other readings.


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