What better way for Finnish (or other) Michiganders to celebrate St. Urho’s day on March 16 than to make a solemn pilgrimage to the giant grasshopper of Kaleva? The welded metal sculpture created by students of Lutheran Brethren High School is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, and represents the mythical banishment of grasshoppers from Finland in order to save the grape crop.*
The big hopper can be found in Kaleva’s Centennial Park, alongside a Finnish totem pole. While in Kaleva, don’t miss the Bottle House built by famed Finn bottler John Makinen in 1941. It stands one block north of Kaleva’s downtown on Wuoski Avenue. Makinen died before he could move into the habitable folk art structure, but his family enjoyed living bottoms up for four decades. The Kaleva Historical Society gives tours on summer Saturdays.
Click the grasshopper to see it bigger and also head over to Michigan in Pictures to check out the Michigan Snowhenge!
*If grashoppers should come to your town, seeking your wine grapes, saintuhro.com suggests uttering the phrase: “HeinÃ¤sirkka, heinÃ¤sirkka, mene tÃ¤Ã¤ltÃ¤ hiiteen” (roughly translated: “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!”).