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Embarrass heats up for Sauna Day

Jodi Summit
Posted 6/17/22

EMBARRASS- The sun, and the bugs, did come out at Embarrass’s annual Sauna Day celebration, but the families that attended didn’t seem to mind. And in true community fashion, there was a …

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Embarrass heats up for Sauna Day

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EMBARRASS- The sun, and the bugs, did come out at Embarrass’s annual Sauna Day celebration, but the families that attended didn’t seem to mind. And in true community fashion, there was a bottle of sunscreen and bug spray left out on the Nelimark’s porch if anyone needed to use some.
While the day-long celebration originally started to feature all things about the Finnish sauna, it has turned into a classic community event, with food, live music, games, and even baby goats to pet.
Three styles of portable saunas were on display, a classic barrel-shaped sauna available for rental, hand-crafted cabin-shaped saunas built for home use, and a pop-up tent-style sauna for use at home or on the road. And as always, the historic Nelimark Sauna, on the National Register of Historic Places, was open for viewing.
Owen Christenson builds about 60 saunas a year with business partner Jeremy High. The saunas feature a custom-built stove, and beautifully-crafted cedar interiors. Stone Grove Saunas from Grand Rapids can bring a barrel sauna to your event, along with a dunk tank and outdoor shower. The company has two units out of Grand Rapids, and another two in the Twin Cities. They started their business back in 2020 and have grown since the start of the pandemic. North Shore Sauna Rental boasts their portable tent saunas can even be brought into the Boundary Waters, and they offer several styles and sizes of portable saunas for rental.
Under the tent, there was live music with Tyler Burkum on guitar and Brett Bjornrud on drums. Barbecue pork sandwiches and other treats were available for purchase, and the famous Nelimark baked goods, including bread and other sweets, sold out quickly.
The Finnish boot throwing contest attracted a nice crowd, with children, women, and men competing for the most accurate rubber boot throws, getting their boot closest to the pin. The contest is based, according to contest coordinator Marlin Bjornrud, on an old Finnish tale that involved a couple who needed to cross a swampy area, but only the man had tall rubber boots. So the man crossed the swamp, and then threw his boots back over the swamp to his girlfriend, who then was able to cross without getting wet. And apparently boot-throwing is a recognized sport in Finland (check out videos on YouTube), and there is even an International Boot Throwing Association based in Helsinki, Finland.

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