Great food, good weather and hard working volunteers contributed to another successful Iola Winter Carnival.
“The Winter Carnival would not be possible without the hard work and cooperation of the volunteers and chairmen for the different events,” said Ralph Bostwick, interim co-chairman. “Everyone did a fantastic job.”
“The support and donations provided by the local businesses and civic groups in Iola and the surrounding communities made the raffle a successful one,” he said. “This community does a great job in supporting its local events.”
Besides the lutefisk dinner and indoor craft show, the event included ice sculpting contest in downtown Iola and ski events at the Iola Winter Sports Club Complex.
The five ice carvings can be viewed next to Vidar of Iola.
“Our ice carvings should last into late May, the way this winter is going,” Bostwick said.
Preparation for the Feb. 1-2 event started months ago, with ordering food, collecting raffle prizes and lining up workers.
Final preparation for the Norwegian Lutefisk Supper began Friday afternoon. This work included making meatballs, preparing the lutefisk, gathering the lefse and dessert pastries, and hauling dinnerware and heavy equipment to the Iola-Scandinavia High School.
Setting up the tables and chairs, plus preparing the gymnasium for the Indoor Craft Show, couldn’t be completed until early on Saturday, because of a basketball game scheduled for Friday night.
Even with the tight timeframe, everything was ready to go by 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1.
A total of 1,001 people were served at the Norwegian Lutefisk Supper.
Volunteers gathered on Friday afternoon to roll meatballs in preparation for the lutefisk dinner.
“I have been doing this for so long it’s just part of the deal,” said Mary Ann Zilz, of Iola. “It is Winter Carnival time and the work needs to be done – the meatballs have to be rolled.”
Stella Williams has been helping with the meatballs since 1988, after moving back to Iola in 1986.
“Everyone who comes seems to enjoy it and comes back again,” she said. “It is a chance to get together and you meet new people, too.”
“Being involved is part of being a member of the community,” said Linda Charleston, of Scandinavia.
Donna Gjertson, of Iola, has been a meatball volunteer for more years than she can remember. When they first began the lutefisk supper, the meatballs were rolled at the Legion Hall.
“You are never too young to make meatballs,” she said.
The 2014 Winter Carnival queen and her court also helped roll the meatballs.
Princess Emily Sether said it was “cool” to be helping, but it was a “messy” and “sticky” job.
“I am just excited to eat the meatballs and gravy,” said Princess Mariah Oppor.
“Give us 40 years and we will probably be sitting at the table with the ‘Meatball Masters,’” said Queen Karina Welch.
Maybe rolling two at time would qualify someone to be called a master.
“Leonard Haroldson recruited me because he heard I could roll two at a time,” said Charlie Wasrud, of Iola.
This is his first year helping with the meatballs for the Iola Winter Carnival. In the past, he had helped with the senior citizens lutefisk dinner at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, in Iola.
Rolling meatballs became his specialty.
It is not just the local people who volunteer. This is the second year of rolling meatballs for Scott Larson.
His first time was about three years ago, when he traveled from Omaha, Neb., to attend the Iola Winter Carnival.
“I got up at 5 a.m. to get on an airplane to do this,” Larson said. “They told me I was getting paid …”