Top Three Vibrant Communities | June 27 – July 1
July 1, 2016 by Blandin Foundation
1.) Comfrey, Gaylord, Sanborn: The concept of “Pay it Forward” is one many are familiar with. Wikipedia defines it as “an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.” So when Fred Pitzner left $200,000 in his will for the Gaylord EMS crew—the ripples of Pay it Forward began. In response to the act, people in these tight-knit rural communities had things to say like this:
“You’ve never seen a happier group.”
“Everybody gave each other hugs when we left.”
“A lot of tears—I just think it’s the feeling of giving.”
2.) Gunflint Lake (Grand Marais): The Gunflint Lodge is situated only a few miles south of the Canadian border. And while the official address of the lodge assigns it to the city of Grand Marais, forty-four and a half miles stand between the 87 year-old family-owned establishment and Sven & Ole’s Pizzeria in downtown. In other words, the Gunflint Lodge is Rural with a capital “R”. Now, after decades of north woods success, this outfitting stronghold in Minnesota’s deepest remaining wilderness is exchanging ownership—and the Kerfoot family feels darn pretty good about it.
“I’m optimistic that we are handing it off to somebody with good North Woods values but also good business instincts,” Bruce Kerfoot said. “We’re pleased to pass the torch to somebody who we hope will grow it and carry it on good.”
“There are a handful of families who have put their mark on resorting in Minnesota, and the Kerfoots certainly have to be one of them,” said Dan McElroy. “We couldn’t be more delighted that they have found a buyer who wants to maintain the heritage of the Gunflint Lodge and the Kerfoot family, and their leadership role in the neighborhood and their industry and in the state.”
3.) Northern Minnesota on the 4th of July: Blogger Aaron Brown put it best: “Regardless of economic or political winds, the region always unites for a uniquely exuberant observation of Independence day, which lasts several days (or up to a month) as celebrated in local custom.” All across rural Minnesota you can easily find some form of celebration coinciding with our adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Be it parades, festivals, fireworks, live music or all the above—we know how to go big for freedom. So as our communities don matching colors of red, white and blue from head-to-toe, remember: safety first and parading we will go.
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