Arts and Entertainment

Can you carry your wife?: Field games and family fun spread onto park’s grassy areas

Families can take part in some old-fashioned, even old-world field games at the Festival, happening from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10, on the Si View grass field.

Home once again at the improved Si View Park, the festival committee decided to make some playful additions.

“Here we have this big, beautiful field,” said festival chairwoman Jill Massengill. “We wanted to find some way to incorporate it.”

Field games include fun for grown-ups and kids. Si View Park hosts a four-on-four volleyball tournament, there will be wheelbarrow races, three-legged race, and a sack race.

One import is a wife-carrying contest. Men compete to carry their wives through an obstacle course, using different types of carries. The winner gets a gift certificate for his wife’s weight in beer.

Wife carrying is a traditional Finnish game. Tales have been passed down about how this sport got started. One folk tale tells how a bandit and his gang carried off food and women. The legend grew, as young men would go into nearby villages to steal a wife.

According to Wikipedia, the head bandit “trained his thieves to be faster and stronger by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, which could have eventually evolved to a sport because of the hard labor (endurance), and muscle strengthening; which most sports ensure. Even though this sport has been considered by some as a joke, competitors take it very seriously, just like any other sport.”

Wife carrying is practiced in Australia, the United States, Hong Kong and Estonia and and has a category in the Guinness Book of Records. World championships in the wife carrying contest have been held in Sonkajärvi, Finland, since 1992.

To take part in the field games, inquire at the Festival Information Booth.


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