Volunteers ready for Iola Winter Carnival
By Jane Myhra
The meatballs are rolled, the snow has fallen, and the lutefisk is ordered as community members prepare for the 55th annual Iola Winter Carnival on Feb. 6-7.
The event is run totally by volunteers, from the planning to the cleanup, from the pastry making to the serving.
The civic groups involved include the Iola Lions Club, Iola Lioness Club, American Legion Sheveland-Taylor Post 14, Iola Winter Sports Club and the Iola-Scandinavia Chamber of Commerce.
“Our event is very dependent on volunteers and weather,” said Mike Mazemke, chair of the IWC Committee. “We are very thankful for all the volunteers that come to work. We can only pray for good weather so people will travel to Iola for the events of the weekend.”
Each task has its own chairperson, who is responsible for scheduling volunteers and overseeing the work.
Over 1,100 meals are served family style during the Norwegian Lutefisk Supper, which runs from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the I-S High School. An indoor craft fair with over 49 vendors is held during the lutefisk supper.
The kitchen work begins on Friday as the potatoes are peeled and mashed and the meatballs are rolled.
Making the Norwegian pastries, which include rosettes, sandbakkels and krumkake, begins even sooner.
Iola Lioness Ryan Kriewaldt organizes an annual pastry making party a week before the supper. She focuses on making rosettes, which is a favorite pastry at the lutefisk supper.
Although everybody works wherever needed, generally, members of the Lions and American Legion do the food preparation and cooking. The Lioness members organize the wait staff and pastry donations. The I-S Chamber sets up vendors for the craft fair.
The Iola Winter Sports Club takes charge of the ski events, located at its complex on County Trunk MM north of Iola. The ski events include a fat bike race at 6:30 p.m. Friday, skijoring at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a twilight snowshoe race at 6 p.m.
The Central Ski Jumping Championships begin at noon on Sunday, Feb. 7, at the IWSC complex.
Additional help for the Iola Winter Carnival comes from other community groups, such as the Iola Boy Scouts, I-S Art Crew and the Lake Iola Rehabilitation District.
The Art Crew hosts the Ice Sculpting Contest, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 6, in front of the I-S High School.
The Boy Scouts help park cars during the lutefisk supper and craft show.
The Lake District runs a free ice fishing contest on Lake Iola for children age 16 and under. The registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at Taylor Park, with the contest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Lions, Lioness, Legion and IWSC members sell the raffle tickets, with the drawing held at about 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, after the ski jumping event at the IWSC complex.
The top raffle prize is $1,000, with over 168 other donated prizes. The tickets are $2 each or three for $5.
For more information, visit the Iola Winter Carnival on Facebook.