Iola event scheduled for Feb. 4-6
By Holly Neumann
Iola-Scandinavia High School seniors Cameron Harbridge, Ella Gullixon, Tara Thompson, Morgan Anderson and Lydia Johnsrud have been selected as the 2022 Iola Winter Carnival Court.
The Iola Winter Carnival is set to take place Friday to Sunday, Feb. 4-6, in Iola with limited events.
Due to concerns with COVID-19, there will be no lutefisk supper or craft fair. The raffle, kids’ ice fishing contest, plus ski jumping and other events at Iola Winter Sports Club ski hill will take place.
Following are biographies of all five Queen of Snows candidates:
Being selected as a Winter Carnival Princess is a great honor and opportunity, Harbridge said.
“I have been involved in the Winter Carnival since I was very young and have always enjoyed attending and volunteering in various events,” she said. “This opportunity will allow me to honor my town and make everyone around me as excited about the Winter Carnival as I am.”
Winter Carnival is a great community tradition that allows people to celebrate their heritage and for those who are not Norwegian to experience and learn about a new culture, according to Harbridge.
“The various events allow for everyone to be included, whether young or old,” she said. “For such a small town putting on an event this large is impressive. It draws people to our town and lets them see all the things we have to offer.”
Harbridge said she feels she has the ability to represent the community extremely well if chosen as Queen of Snows.
“I have been involved in the Winter Carnival my whole life and cannot imagine a year without it,” she said. “My positive attitude will make everyone excited about the Winter Carnival and my experience volunteering will allow the events I am involved in to run smoothly.”
Following graduation in May, Harbridge plans on attending a postsecondary school, but has not decided which path to take at this time. Her interests include business, architecture and graphic design.
She is the daughter of Mike and Jeannine Harbridge.
Gullixon, the daughter of Rod and Rachel Gullixon, is honored to have been selected as a Winter Carnival Princess.
“It’s a great opportunity to become more involved with the community,” she said. “I am excited to be involved in such a great tradition that we have in Iola.”
Winter Carnival is an event to recognize Norwegian heritage, she said.
“It reminds us of the importance of our Norwegian culture and the history of Iola,” she said. “It’s a great way to celebrate together as a community.”
Gullixon said her kindness and willingness to help others is what makes her the best candidate for Queen of Snows.
“I hope to promote this event by selling Winter Carnival raffle tickets, as well as spreading the word about all of the events that are happening during the weekend,” she said. “It will be a little different than in years past since there is no lutefisk supper, but there will still be a lot of great events for the community to get involved in.”
Gullixon has volunteered at the lutefisk supper in the past.
“It’s such a good way to meet new people in our community,” she said.
Following graduation, Gullixon plans to attend Fox Valley Technical College for business management and hopes to get her real estate license.
Anderson has helped at Winter Carnival events for many years.
“My ancestors are originally from Norway,” she said. “My family and I have done the same traditions as long as I can remember such as eating lutefisk and making lefse, Swedish meatballs and Norwegian pastries.”
Winter Carnival is a great tradition, as so many families come together to support the community, Anderson said.
“It’s so nice to see how people come from all over the state of Wisconsin to attend this event,” she said. “There are a variety of events that go on during the weekend, so there’s something to do for everyone.”
Anderson said she would be honored to be chosen as the Queen of Snows.
“Like I said before, the Winter Carnival has been a tradition for my family to help out with and attend for years,” she said. “I hope to sell a lot of tickets so people will know about the event and more people will come.”
Anderson, the daughter of Todd and Dixie Anderson, plans to attend Fox Valley Technical College to earn a degree as a surgical technician.
Thompson said she is blessed and honored to be selected as a Winter Carnival Princess.
“I am excited to be a part of the Winter Carnival,” she said. “I have lived in Iola my whole life and grew up just miles from the Iola Winter Sports Club. I have enjoyed many years watching the ski jumping competition and all of the festivities during the Winter Carnival and I also participate in cross-country skiing and spend a lot of time at the ski hill.”
Winter Carnival is a great tradition for the community because it brings people together, Thompson said.
“Hopefully, those visiting will decide to return to our community another time,” she said.
If chosen as the Queen of Snows, Thompson said she would represent the community well because of her volunteer activities, school sports and activities and love for her hometown.
“Throughout my life, I have been very active in the community and our school district,” she said. “Being part of my community and helping my community is very important to me, Being part of this event will provide me with the opportunity to be in something bigger than myself. I hope to promote the event by talking with people in the community and by selling raffle tickets at different community events or in different locations around Iola prior to the carnival.”
Following graduation, Thompson plans to pursue a degree in agriculture.
She is the daughter of Carl and Jane Thompson.
“Being selected for the Iola Winter Carnival means a great deal to me,” Johnsrud said. “I am proud to help represent our town and the beautiful traditions we have.”
Winter Carnival is an important and valuable tradition in the community, she said.
“It means helping celebrate our rich history as not only a town, but a community,” she said. “It connects not only our local town, but draws in people from all over the state.
“Winter Carnival helps preserve old traditions and keeps our Scandinavian culture strong,” she added. “From Norwegian foods and attire to cultural arts and crafts, the carnival has it all. It celebrates the rich history of the ski hill and honors the founders of our town.”
The daughter of Phillip Johnsrud and Mary Schultz, Johnsrud has grown up immersed in the ski hill and its assorted events.
She said if chosen as Queen of Snows, her greatest assets would be her own involvement and leadership within it.
“I know first-hand how impactful it is on our community,” she said. “I feel deeply connected to the Winter Carnival, as it played a massive part of my childhood. I understand the unique experiences and connections it provides for our town. I have helped run many of its community events and have gained invaluable relationships as a result.”
There are many ways to promote the event through volunteering, Johnsrud said.
“The Winter Carnival and the event’s fundraisers have been a year-round normal for me,” she said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Johnsrud hopes to pursue a job in forestry and wildlife conservation.
“It has always been a passion of mine and I am excited for all the possibilities I will have in this field,” she said.