Preview: Esko gears up for annual festival Aug. 7-10

Esko Fun Days returns with inaugural Davis Helberg Community Impact Award

The 2019 Esko Fun Days will kick off with a senior picnic at noon Wednesday, Aug. 10, and the first-ever Davis Helberg Community Impact Award. Davis Helberg (pictured) was a pillar of the Esko community before his death in 2018. (Pine Journal file photo)

Esko is rapidly preparing for its own annual festival, Esko Fun Days, but this year, the celebration has a special presentation to kick off the events Aug. 7-10.

During the annual senior picnic at noon Wednesday, Aug. 7, in Northridge Pavilion Park, the inaugural Davis Helberg Community Impact Award will be presented.

Esko native Davis Helberg served on the boards of the Esko Educational Foundation, Esko Tree Board and the Esko and Carlton County historical societies. He served as secretary of the Esko Sports Alliance and was instrumental in organizing the Esko Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Helberg died Oct. 10 following a battle with small-cell lung cancer. He had traveled to 55 countries and worked as a sailor, dispatcher of ships, a sports and news reporter and as the executive director of the Duluth Port Authority for 24 years.

He also co-wrote and edited a history of Thomson Township, " Esko's Corner ," and a book, "Thomson's Night of Terror," detailing the 1918 fires.


The award honors a community member who "has stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience and hardiness and has shown exceptional dedication to the community of Esko."

Other Esko Fun Days events

  • Esko Fun Days features a “History Mystery Medallion Hunt” Aug. 7-9, as well as an ice cream social at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Esko Educational Center.
  • St. Matthews Church will host bingo from 6-7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 at Northridge Pavilion Park, followed by a showing of "Mary Poppins," hosted by the Esko cheerleaders, at 7:45 p.m.
  • The Kristin Burkholder 5K will start at 9 a.m. Aug. 10 to raise money for the Kristin Burkholder Memorial Scholarship, with a kids race at 8:45 a.m. Kristin was a 12-year-old Esko student who was struck and killed by a car while running during track practice on Canosia Road in 1997. Entry is $25 per person and $60 per family. Registration forms are available at running stores, the Esko Fitness Center and Esko Self-Serve. Register at .
  • The annual Esko Fun Days parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 10. For more information or to enter a float, contact North Country Ride at 218-879-7608 or .
Related Topics: EVENTSESKO
Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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