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

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

From behind the scenes to leading the parade, Riihilouma honored as grand marshal


August 9, 2018

Lois E. Johnson

Dale Riihiluoma, grand marshal of the Ma and Pa Kettle Days parade.

Dale Riihiluoma has been the announcer of the Ma and Pa Kettle parade each year for all 33 years of its existence. However, he will not be announcing for this year's parade. He will be leading the parade as grand marshal.

"This is the first year that I won't be announcing the parade," he commented in a recent interview. "It will be different for me.

"That announcing job brought other jobs. I've announced at the steak fry for the Barnum fire department and at the steak fry at the Star Club. I've received wonderful comments about my announcing. Some people think that I must be on the radio."

Riihiluoma has observed the changes in Ma and Pa Kettle Days over the years.

"The two co-ops used to have a free breakfast for their patrons," he said. "They served 1,200 to 1, 500 people. But the steak fry has stayed pretty stable. They have served 450-500 steaks each year for many years."

Riihiluoma grew up in Kettle River, the son of Nick and Signe Riihiluoma.

He had three older sisters. One is still living at Big Lake, Minnesota. The other two have passed on, he explained.

"My sister and her husband and my niece are planning on coming," he said.

Riihiluoma graduated from Moose Lake High School in 1972. He and Diane Klejeski married in 1974. They couple has two daughters. One daughter is married and lives in Lindstrom and the other daughter is single and lives in Rochester, he said. They have no grandchildren.

Riihiluoma worked at Mercy Hospital, starting when he was still in high school.

"I was an orderly under a program that they had with the hospital," he explained. "I worked there for eight years."

The couple moved away in 1985 and didn't return to the area until 2005. Again, Riihiluoma found himself working at the hospital after the family moved back to the area and, most recently, worked at Essentia-St. Mary's hospital until this spring. He is currently enjoying the summer until the next job opportunity comes along.

As a resident of Barnum, Riihiluoma has served on the Barnum City Council for many years and also serves as vice president of the Spring Fever Days board.

Riihiluoma serves as president with the Knights of Columbus, an organization of the three Catholic parishes of Holy Angels in Moose Lake, St. Isidore's in Sturgeon Lake and St. Mary's in Willow River.

Riihiluoma is appreciative of his family for supporting his volunteer work.

"I couldn't have done it without their support," he said.

Riihiluoma is looking forward to this year's celebration.

"It is humbling to actually have been named grand marshal," he said. "I have announced all of the grand marshals and Ma and Pa Kettles over the years. They were all great people. I am looking forward to being here again this year, talking with people and taking part in the activities."


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