Unique arts camp at historic Mesaba Park near Hibbing

Mesaba Co-op Park was founded in 1929 to provide low-cost recreation for the families of workers and immigrants. The park remains alive today, offering activities like the Northstar Arts Camp.

In 1929, Finnish immigrants founded Mesaba Park, a cooperative park located on Northstar Lake between Cherry Township and Hibbing. They sought to provide a safe meeting place for workers and a low-cost recreational facility for their families.

It was unique then, and even more so today having survived the decline of the cooperative movement elsewhere. The place witnessed a great deal of 20th Century history, having hosted early leaders of the labor movement, but also socialists and other radical political causes. During the Red Scare of the 1950s, it was widely assumed that you had an FBI file if you ever entered Mesaba Park.

Today, the park’s programming is quite a bit tamer. Mesaba Park becomes a gathering place for outdoors enthusiasts, artists, and socially conscious citizens. Aging hippies are joined by young professionals and their families who like the laid-back friendly atmosphere.

Mesaba Park will once again host the Northstar Art Camp June 19-22 for kids aged 8-13. The information is below:

The 23rd annual Northstar Arts Camp will be held at Mesaba Park June 19-22. Once again this magical space will come alive as together we create our songs and dances and stories. Margo McCreary will guide us in creating our own rod puppets, and letting our joy and whimsy shape our future. Oscar Forsman, Dorothy Sandness, Jake Wiltermuth, and Terrence Smith will collaborate with her using traditional song and dance to give voice to our dreams and hopes, and to give the puppets something to talk and act about! John Latimer, featured phonologist on KAXE, will again join us for a very informative “Walk About.” Elanne Palcich will gently guide us to explore, love and understand our Park. David Bednarczuk as well as a host of volunteers will round out this amazing team to provide a unique, memorable experience.

Mesaba Park in more recent years.

Campers ages 8-13 will work with each other, mentors, and artists. New this year: We are able to provide programming for those under 8 years old, if accompanied by an adult! The arts day camp runs Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with the option of camping if accompanied by an adult. Cost for the four-day camp is just $90 and includes lunches, snacks, and materials. Register early! We expect a full roster, and the number of participants and scholarships are limited.

For more information:

David Bednarczuk
Northstar Foundation
P.O. Box 293
Hibbing, MN  55746

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