Lake Superior State University holds its 49th annual Snowman Burning on Wednesday, March 20, to welcome spring and banish Old Man Winter. Ceremonies commence at noon on the south side of the Walker Cisler Center with LSSU President Rodney S. Hanley emceeing. Spring officially arrives in the Northern Hemisphere later that day, at 5:58 p.m. EST.
The time-honored tradition is open to the public with free food (courtesy of Jimmy John’s), beverages, provided by the Native American Center, poetry, and of course, the burning snowman. Daffodils will be given out to the first 200 spectators, courtesy of Co-Ed Flowers.
President Hanley said, “Everyone has been looking forward to this unique Laker tradition, which brings the whole community together to banish winter and celebrate spring.” This is President Hanley’s first snowman burning experience since taking the reins as LSSU’s tenth President last year.
LSSU has invited Tom O’Hare, chief meteorologist at 9&10 News, to set the snowman ablaze to formally mark that spring has sprung. O’Hare joined the 9&10 Doppler Weather Team in 2004 and has since been a staple in the Eastern Upper Peninsula’s routine by providing the latest weather updates. “After a cold winter, I can’t wait to light the snowman and bring some warmth,” he remarked.
Back by popular demand is a spring-themed poetry contest, this year with a new twist. All are invited to submit spring-themed haiku poems for judging. Winners will receive Laker swag and be invited to read their poems prior to the snowman burning. Submissions can be made online at lssu.edu/snowman-burning until March 15.
This year the fun doesn’t end after the snowman burns. The celebration of spring continues at 6:00 p.m. with the help of Bird’s Eye Outfitters. Owners Ken and Wilda Hopper shall host an after-burner-party, complete with a mini snowman burning, s’mores, hot cocoa bar, and specials for Lakers.
Snowman burning was started in 1971 by the Unicorn Hunters, a former campus club, who advocated folklore that smoke rising from a fire wards off blizzards and ushers in spring-like weather. Shortly after the snowman was burned that year, a blizzard rolled through the Eastern Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula but miraculously spared Sault Ste. Marie. Thus, the myth was born to be celebrated ever since.
For more information about the snowman burning and LSSU, contact the LSSU Marketing and Communications Department at 906-635-2089 or visit www.lssu.edu.