St. Patrick’s Celebration in Crosslake, Celebrating 37 years of tradition and memories
For 37 years, Crosslake has been home to one of Minnesota’s biggest and best St. Patrick’s celebrations. And this year is shaping up to be no exception.
Dodo Fraser, affectionately referred to as the “Queen of Crosslake” by acquaintances, said she has participated in Crosslake’s St. Patrick’s Celebration every year in one way or another since its inception in 1974. In fact, Dodo and husband Leo were the parade Grand Marshals in 2004. A resident of Crosslake for 63 years, Dodo recalls the early days of simple floats, the crowning of a St. Patrick’s queen and the exuberance it brought to a small town community.
“When it started out they had more people in the parade than those watching,” Dodo laughed. “It’s unreal, but it’s a lot of fun and a good get-together. You almost have to be there to believe it; and it’s growing every year. We’re just a small town, but we do draw a lot of people.”
What began through the initiative of a few Crosslake businesses has now grown into a week-long celebration that attracts attendees in the thousands. Ruth Ann Hanson, Area Director of the Crosslake office of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, said she has been involved with the Crosslake celebration for the past 10 years and said it isn’t uncommon to see between 8,000 and 10,000 people line the parade route through the heart of Crosslake to watch the legendary event.
“This has become a tradition for many families,” Hanson noted. “It’s a joint effort between the Chamber and the City of Crosslake and it takes a lot of volunteers. It’s definitely one of our biggest volunteer-based events we do and is very well supported by the community.”
In the 37 years of its existence, Hanson said the parade has never been cancelled due to inclement weather. Over time, the route and direction of the parade has been revised to accommodate the growing number of participants and attendees. And in an effort to attract more people, the parade date was changed from St. Patrick’s Day to the Saturday that fell closest on the calendar.
This year’s parade will be held Saturday, March 12, beginning at 2 p.m. starting in the Crosslake Town Square and will wind its way to County Road 3 before heading north on Route 66. Long-standing Crosslake business community leaders Ted & Terry Pederson will be honored as this year’s Grand Marshals. But the parade is only one of the events planned for the week-long celebration.
Festivities kick off on Saturday, March 5 with the Miss Blarney Contest at Manhattan Beach Lodge. Be sure to get your Blinkie Button and have access to discounts and specials from a variety of Crosslake merchants. By purchasing a $5 raffle ticket, you’ll receive a chance to win a number of great raffle prizes and get a Blinkie Button free! Winners will be announced on St. Patrick’s Day at the American Legion Raffle Party hosted by Lakeplace.com.
Begin your search for Crosslake’s own Pot-O Gold beginning Thursday, March 10. Clues for the treasure hunt will be posted at 9 a.m. daily at participating Crosslake area merchants and at all Brainerd Lakes Chamber offices.
Saturday, March 12 brings a day filled with fun for the whole family, starting with the Crosslake Firefighter’s Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the Crosslake Lutheran Church. After filling your belly, you’ll have enough time to scope out your vantage point for the parade, which begins at 2 p.m. But don’t forget to register for the 2011 Plunge for the Puck at Manhattan Beach Lodge. Between 12:30 and 2 p.m., you can sign up to jump into the chilly waters of Trout Lake to raise money for Pequot Lakes Area Youth Hockey. The event begins at 3 p.m.
Have a bite to eat and help a good cause in the process. Edina Realty will be cooking up and serving brats and pop from 11 a.m. -3 p.m. Saturday. The Edina Foundation will match all funds raised with proceeds earmarked for the Crosslake Foodshelf and Mid Minnesota Women’s Shelter.
Wrap up your day at Manhattan Beach Lodge with great music provided by Tim Mahoney starting at 5 pm. Music will also be provided throughout the day in the Town Square, at Maucieri’s and at Moonlight Bay Restaurant and Bar.
The celebration isn’t over quite yet! Find out if you hold a winning raffle ticket when you attend the Crosslake American Legion’s Raffle Party at 6 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
“This is a very important celebration for Crosslake,” Hanson noted. “Many people who’ve lived here and moved away come back that weekend to see the parade and partake in the activities. It’s just part of Crosslake.”
Event sponsors for the 2011 St. Patrick’s Parade and Celebration include Lakeplace.com – Platinum Sponsor; Lakes State Bank of Crosslake, Lakewood Bank at Crosslake Reed’s Market, RiverWood Bank of Crosslake, and Frandsen Bank and Trust of Crosslake – Gold Sponsors; Crosslake Insurance Agency, Inc., Stonemark Land Surveying, Inc., and RE/MAX Lakes Area Realty of Crosslake – Silver Sponsors; Crosslake Sheet Metal, Inc., and Crow Wing County Family Child Care Association – Bronze Sponsors; Haven Books, Crosslake Ace Hardware, Crosslake Veterinary Hospital, VP Insurance Center, and Crosslake Legal Services – Biffy Sponsors.
For a complete listing of events and a map of the parade route, click here.