THUNDER BAY, ON ------ March 19, 2011 --- Legend has it that St. Urho chased the grasshoppers out of the vineyards in Finland. The grape crops were saved so the Finns have an annual celebration to mark this important event.
Grapes in Finland? Legend has it.
Where will you find the largest population of Finns outside of Finland? Thunder Bay.
Where have they gathered in the city over the past 100 years? The Finlandia Club at 314 Bay Street
Where will they be on March 19th, 2011? Celebrating St. Urho's Day.
What are you to do on St. Urho's Day? Put on your best green and purple clothing, grab a rake, gather outside the world famous Hoito restaurant at 11:55 am, parade around the block with other celebrants, head upstairs to the Finlandia Club for Finnish food, refreshements and entertainment until 4 pm. Come back later in the evening to dance the night away.
Why hasn't anyone in Finland hear of this? The legend started in Northern Minnesota and hasn't reached Finland yet.
Is everyone invited? Absolutely.
Take A Hike which relocated to Bay Street immediately across from the Finlandia Cub and the world-famous Hoito restaurant in November has totally jumped on-board with St. Urho's Day celebrations. Not only will the store be filled with grasshopper gift items and decorated in St. Urho Day colours of purple and green, staff will be dishing out 150 free samples of chocolate covered grasshoppers on March 19th. Successful diners will also be given an "I Ate a Bug Club" button as proof of their feat.
Store owner Diane Petryna sampled one of the insect treats earlier this week and now proudly wears her Bug Club button. According to Diane, "The chocolate and oven roasted grasshopper taste quite good but the little pieces that get caught in your teeth and throat are a little rough."
P.S. Take A Hike will actually be serving chocolate covered crickets. They look a lot like grasshoppers but are much healthier.