By Brenda Erdahl: Local artists, sketchers, and talented doodlers have until Saturday, Jan. 20, to submit their design for the 41st Annual St. Patrick’s Day button. The button heralds the Maple Lake festival that takes place this year on Saturday, March 17, with a parade, fun run, coronation, and more. The winning button will earn the artist $25 in business bucks, but more than that, the artwork will be displayed on jacket lapels and purses in the weeks leading up the event that draws thousands of people to town each year. Officials are seeking unique designs that incorporate two main aspects of the festivities, organizer Irene Hudek said. The button must include the words “41st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival, March 17, 2018, Maple Lake, MN,” and something that relates to the Irish theme. “Most people think of leprechauns, but it doesn’t have to be a leprechaun,” Hudek said. “One year someone drew just a clover leaf and it was really beautiful.” Once the submissions are in, Hudek will take the button ideas to local businesses and have them choose their favorite. The festival committee will also get a chance to vote. Once Hudek tallies the numbers, the winner will be announced, Feb. 1, in the Maple Lake Messenger. As soon as they are printed, the buttons will go on sale at BP Amoco, the Lake Region Coop, Maple Lake Wine & Spirits, Star Bank, and the Maple Lake Messenger. Typically, the committee sells from 300 to 500 buttons depending on the year, Hudek said. The majority are sold before the festivities, but they are also sold during the parade. Money raised from button sales go toward financing paid parade entries such as the Osman Shriners, the Unicycle Club, and bagpipers. Anyone who buys a button to support the festival is automatically registered to win a $100 prize. The button winner is typically drawn the Friday after the parade and announced in the Messenger as well as on the Maple Lake Chamber of Commerce website, Hudek said. Artists with designs for this year’s button can drop off their entry at the Maple Lake Messenger on Division St. or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you submitted something last year and didn’t win, submit it again this year, Hudek advised. Entries can be computer generated and saved as a PDF, or hand drawn. For more information contact Hudek at 612-270-8586.