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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Grand Marshal announced for Ma & Pa Kettle Days


August 8, 2019

Lois Johnson

Marcia Sarvela is the grand marshal of the Ma and Pa Kettle Days parade.

Marcia Sarvela has been named grand marshal of the Ma and Pa Kettle Days parade.

"A committee goes through many names," explained Morgan Yeats, one of the organizers of Ma and Pa Kettle Days. "They chose Marcia because she has been active with Ma and Pa Kettle Days for many years."

Sarvela explained that she moved to Kettle River in 1988 with her husband, Melvin.

"My mother-in-law, Amelia Sarvela, was the first Ma Kettle in 1985," she said. "We were here for the first Ma and Pa Kettle Days but we lived in Superior at the time."

Marcia and Melvin moved to the community three years later and set up a mobile home next to Amelia's, Sarvela explained. After Amelia died, they removed her house and moved their mobile home to that site.

Sarvela grew up in Kankakee, Illinois.

"I moved to Minnesota in 1967 with my brother, and we bought Edelweiss Resort on Sturgeon Lake," she said. "I met Melvin on a blind date when we and others went fishing on Sturgeon Lake."

The couple married on September 28, 1968.

"We kind of eloped," she said. "We only had one couple stand up for us when we got married in a church in Superior."

Melvin was an engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Marcia was a registered nurse. She worked at Mercy Hospital while she was co-owner of the resort and later at Superior Memorial Hospital.

The couple had one son, Gary Holt, but he died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, Sarvela said.

"He worked for Channel 10," she explained. "His wife still works there."

Sarvela now has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The couple was retired when they moved to Kettle River. Since then, Sarvela has been active on the Ma and Pa Kettle Days committee, organizing the food vendors, arts and crafts, and the flea market, she said. She also has been a member of the Kettle River American Legion Post #360 auxiliary until it disbanded, and she is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans auxiliary.

Sarvela also writes the Kettle River news column for the Star Gazette. Her other volunteer activities include organizing a clothing exchange, a children's Santa gift shop, and quilting at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

"Most of the quilts are donated to charities," said Sarvela. "I just took 10 of them to the crisis shelter. The most quilts that I made in one five-month season was 150 quilts. I made the tops at home."

Sarvela grew up learning to give.

"Mom stressed volunteerism," she said. "She taught Sunday school in Illinois."

That was the main reason why Sarvela volunteered for Ma and Pa Kettle Days.

"It was my philosophy that, if you don't want it to die, you had better do something about it," she said. "If you don't do it, nobody else will. Somebody has to take a stand."

And that's just what has happened. There were plans to close Ma and Pa Kettle Days down two years ago. But people like Marcia Sarvela stepped up, reorganized the plans for the event, and now it is bigger and better than it had been in recent years.

"We started to work and it started growing and growing," said Sarvela. "I was president of the committee last year and this year I am secretary-treasurer."

But being named as grand marshal was a surprise.

"I was shocked when I was nominated," said Sarvela. "It's a great honor to be grand marshal."

See Marcia Sarvela in the Ma and Pa Kettle Days parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 10.


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