Welcome to Menahga in Wadena County MN
Spirit Lake, St. Urho, Memorial Park & Campground, Midsummer Celebration
Menahga is a friendly place to settle down or visit, especially with Spirit Lake right in the middle of the town. According to the 2010 census, Menahga's population was 1,317. The average household size in Menahga is 2 people. The percentage of family households in Menahga are just under the Minnesota average. The median household income and median house value of Menahga are both below the state average. Construction, manufacturing, health care, and retail are four of the biggest industries in Menahga.
The average climate of Menahga closely matches the rest of the Northern Minnesota area. During the warm season, average temperatures in Menahga are just below 70F. Winter temperatures average between 0F and 10F. Snowmobile trails run through the city, groomed and maintained by Wadena County Trail Breakers Inc. Also, there is sunshine available year-round, which helps take the bite out of the cold temperatures and makes the warm season even more enjoyable.
Another great aspect about Menahga for those who are considering settling in the area, are the proximity of higher education institutions. There are seven colleges and universities within an 80-mile radius of Menahga. From nearest to farthest, these colleges and universities include Central Lakes College - Brainerd Campus, Bemidji State University, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Alexandria Technical and Community College, North Dakota State College of Science, Minnesota State University - Moorhead, and Concordia College at Moorhead.
Spirit Lake, Menahga Fishing Derby, Vintage One-Lunger Snowmobile Race
There are many lakes surrounding the Menahga area in Northern Minnesota. Water recreation like fishing, swimming, boating, jet skiing, tubing, and canoeing are all popular activities to enjoy while out at the lake.
Spirit Lake is a pleasantly small lake located within Menahga in northern Wadena County. There are bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, lodging, and lake homes scattered around the off-shore area of Spirit Lake. The lake is known for it's white sugar-sand beaches that are perfect for swimming and it's good water quality. Spirit Lake reaches a maximum depth of 45 feet and spans an area of 115 square acres. Fishermen are attracted to the large, public T-shaped fishing pier owned by the DNR, sponsored by the Menahga Conservation Club, and located on the east shore of the lake.
There are also great angling opportunities on Spirit Lake for largemouth bass, northern pike, and a variety of panfish like bluegill, black crappie, and pumpkinseed. Other fish that can be found in Spirit Lake include yellow perch, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, and there were low sample numbers of white sucker. In January when the lake is frozen, Menahga hosts two big events on Spirit Lake. The Menahga Fishing Derby and the Vintage One-Lunger Snowmobile Series Race are two very popular attractions.
Besides the lakes, swimming, and fishing, there are other landmarks and town attractions to explore and see. In February, for example, the Wadena County Radar Run takes place and brings in people from all over the Northern Minnesota region.
Memorial Park and Campground
Menahga's Memorial Park and Campground is located half a mile south of Menahga on US Highway 71 and is considered one of the town's great landmarks. The park covers an area of 40 acres and is filled with birch, hardwood, and pine trees. There are over 20 campsites available at the Memorial Park and Campground, ranging from tent-only sites to sites that are RV compatible. Most of the camping facilities have water and electrical hook-ups and a RV dump station. There is a shower house with flush toilets and hot showers. Each campsite is shaded and includes a fire ring and picnic table.
Memorial Park and Campground offers playground equipment near the sandy beach, which has seasonal lifeguard coverage. Pets are allowed on the campsites as long as they remain leashed and watched over. There are hiking trails that run through the park and campsites, which are great for birdwatching, nature tracking, and enjoying time in the great outdoors. The Memorial Park and Campground is located only half a mile from restaurants and stores, and 10 miles from a canoe rental site located on the Crow Wing River.
St. Urho Statue & Celebration
The Statue of St. Urho is the other big landmark in Menahga, also located along US Highway 71. St. Urho is a legendary patron saint of Finland who banished the plague of grasshoppers that threatened to destroy the crops of wild grapes, which were an abundant crop, with just a few Finnish words. The statue serves as a way for the citizens of Menahga to celebrate their Finnish ancestry, and as a special symbol for guests to remember the town.
St. Urho's Day is March 16th, the day before St. Patrick's Day. In Finland, the women and children dress in pink and green, gather around the lakeshores, and chant to the grasshoppers just like St. Urho did many years ago. The men dress up in green costume, to represent the grasshoppers, and gather on the hills overlooking the lakes. When the men hear the chanting, they flee and disappear to change their costumes from green to purple to join the women and children for the rest of the festivities.
Menahga throws a huge town celebration for St. Urho's Day every March 16th. There is dancing, live entertainment, and food and grape juice for everyone to eat and drink.
Menahga Midsummer Celebration
One of the biggest events for Menahga and the surrounding area is the Menahga Midsummer Celebration in July. The celebration has a variety of festivities that expand over a three-day period hosted by the Menahga Civic and Commerce and the VFW, among many smaller events held at the park and other locations downtown.
Some of the main attractions to the Midsummer Celebration are the Miss Menahga/Little Miss Pageant, the St Urho 5k and 10k Walk/Run, Arts and Crafts Fair on Main Street, Water Bottle Rockets, the Midsummer Grand Parade, Fireworks over Spirit Lake, the Bald Eagle Water Ski Show at Spirit Lake, Raffle Drawing at Spirit Lake Boat Access. At a peek of the smaller events available for the public, there is a meat raffle, horseshoe tournaments at the park, blueberry ice cream social, fishing derby for kids, bingo, antique car show, and a beer garden. There will be plenty of food socials, music, and dancing for all ages to enjoy.
For the first time ever, Menahga will be hosting the Minnesota St. Urho Wife Carry for Charity Challenge in 2015 during the Midsummer Celebration. The origin of the Wife Carry comes from a Finnish legend of Rovo-Ronkainen, a man who liked to snatch women from villages and disappear with them into the woods. The Finnish decided to make an event out of the legend, for men to demonstrate their physical abilities and possibly swoon a lady. St. Urho was actually one of the first winners of the Wife Carry competition.
The first St. Urho Wife Carry challenge taking place July 2015 in Menahga, is the SUASA sanctioned U.S. final for the Wife Carrying World Championship event. Pre-registration is required and there is a limit to 50 teams. The teams are to designate a local charity that will be recognized at the event. This is a fun, family-oriented attraction that is sure to be a hit.
Small Town Appeal
Menahga is an ideal, friendly town to live or visit. The community always has something planned to bring people together during all seasons, whether it is snowmobiling or ice fishing in the winter, a collection of warm season festivities like swimming, camping, and festivities downtown, or one of the big holiday celebrations year-round. For more information or help with any of your real estate needs in the Menahga area, please contact Jack Brann today.