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

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

New Founding Family Award

 

August 9, 2018

Lois E. Johnson

Etta and George Milczark were instrumental in starting Ma and Pa Kettle Days. Descendants of the couple have been involved in planning and the celebration since its beginning in 1984.

The Milczark family has been named the Founding Family of Ma and Pa Kettle Days this year. This is a new title awarded by the Ma and Pa Kettle Planning Committee.

"The family of Etta and George has always been involved with Ma and Pa Kettle Days," explained Morgan Yeats, vice president of the committee. "Ronnie Milczark Kankala was the first president of Ma and Pa Kettle Days. She worked with it for many years. Scott Milczark will be hosting the Mud Bog on his farm this year, and Julia Campbell, a fourth-generation Milczark, will be singing the National Anthem at the parade and Mud Bog."

According to printed information, "In 1985, George and Etta Milczark were instrumental in starting the Mud Bog, and they donated land for it the following year. As the years went by, the trucks got bigger and they donated more land."

There have been other additions to the celebration this year.

Miss Pot Creek will be returning to Kettle River and appear in the parade.

"When I was reading the old newspapers, I saw that Miss Pot Creek was part of those early celebrations. Miss Pot Creek is returning this year," Yeats said.

Yeats loves the history of the community. She has found that people of Polish and Finnish descent settled in the town, with the Polish people on one side of the Soo Line Railroad tracks and the Finnish people on the other. In fact, one section of the present-day Kettle River was called Finland in 1909, stated information on a flyer.

To commemorate the two ethnic groups, a Battle of the Flags has been organized. People have been able to buy the flag of their choice at the Tower Tap in Kettle River and at Denham Run in Denham.

The Battle of the Flags – Poland versus Finland - will take place behind the Veterans Building at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Another new event is a program about the history of the area, with emphasis on the 1918 fire that destroyed the village of Kettle River and most of the farms in the area. Actors will portray various people of the area and tell their stories of survival and rising from the ashes.

Performances will be held on both Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the American Legion building.

The American Red Cross assisted the people in the area with recovery after the fire. The Red Cross will be at Ma and Pa Kettle Days and taking blood donations on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

An event that has been a part of Ma and Pa Kettle Days until last year is the Mud Bog. The Mud Bog is being brought back this year but in a new location.

The event is hosted by the Rut Riders, the organizers for the event. The Mud Bog starts at 1 p.m. east of the city limits on County Road 12. Watch for signs.

People that visit Kettle River may have noticed quilt squares painted on wood around the community.

"Those are barn quilts," said Yeats. "They are part of a fundraising program of the Carlton County Historical Society. Mary Sanders has organized the painting of the barn quilts for our town."

There will be no flea market at Ma and Pa Kettle Days this year but there will be 20 vendors, said Yeats, including six food venders.

Breakfast will be served in the senior citizens center on Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. by Hope Lutheran Church as a fundraiser for their youth groups.

Yeats announced that the Kettle River Project will be recording videos of the celebrations, with the intentions of using the videos in a future project.

For more information, visit the Ma and Pa Kettle Days page on Facebook.

 

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