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The Booya's back: volunteers in Finland, Minn., revive tasty tradition

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It's booya time. And this year Finland is back in the game.

Early autumn get-togethers featuring hundreds of people around giant kettles of stew are an annual tradition in a number of Minnesota cities and neighborhoods. But last year a shortage of volunteers and money forced the town on Lake Superior's north shore to cancel its Harvest Booya and Finnfest.

The Lake County News Chronicle reports two determined townsfolk resolved that would not happen again. Stacy Breden and Julie Arnold started working in January to breathe new life into this weekend's festival. Now comes the payoff, as cooks fire up the kettles on Friday to have 60 gallons of secret-recipe booya ready on Saturday.

Wondering what the heck booya is? Or a booya?

The name refers to the party, as well as the dish. As with many traditions, its origins are a little murky. But some think the name is a derivation of the French word bouillabaisse. Primarily a Minnesota phenomenon, they became popular as fundraising events over the years.

Some examples include South St. Paul's annual "World Championship Booya," which raises money for the Jaycees ... and a Roseville booya that dates back to the 1940's and is now run by the city's firefighters. Those events are set for October's first weekend, which seems to be high season for booyas.

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