Crosslake Sheet Metal founder Fred Skog named grand marshal of Crosslake parade

Skog founded Crosslake Sheet Metal in 1974, the same year the St. Patrick's Day Parade started

Karl and Fred Skog.jpg
Fred Skog, right, poses with his son, Karl, at Crosslake Sheet Metal on Friday, March 3, 2023.
Dan Determan / Echo Journal

CROSSLAKE — Crosslake’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 18, will feature a grand marshal whose ties to the city are as old as the parade itself.

Just a few weeks before his 96th birthday, Fred Skog will be one of the first through the parade that sees upward of 20,000 people flood the streets of the small town of Crosslake.

Honorary grand marshals are Bonnie and Bob Mudek, owners of Riverside Inn. Though they participated in past parades, dependence on an oxygen tank means Bob won’t be able to ride a parade float this year.

Skog founded Crosslake Sheet Metal in 1974 — the same year as the inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and back when Crosslake was actually two cities: North Cross Lake and South Cross Lake.

I think it is quite the honor to be the grand marshal … It is going to be new to me — that’s for sure.
Fred Skog, Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick's Day Parade

In the early years, he was Crosslake Sheet Metal’s sole employee, and he found himself in a state of always being on call for the residents of Crosslake — sometimes having to sacrifice time with the family for the sake of his community.


“We would sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner, and I would get a phone call because someone’s heat was out,” he said.

Skog’s son, Karl, joined the business part time as a kid, then was hired full time after graduating.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people in town, I think, that were betting against us,” Karl said. “How can father and son work together? We did it for a long time, but it was always that he was boss, and I recognized that.”

In 1992, Fred retired and passed the company to Karl and his wife, Penny.

“I owe him everything for sticking it out in the lean times of the late '70s and early '80s,” Karl said. “It was an awesome business to take over.”

As of 2023, Crosslake Sheet Metal has grown to 29 employees and has recently partnered with Bonfe of St. Paul, a company they felt share the same core values, to better serve its customers and community.

Almost 50 years after founding the company, Fred’s contributions to the city have now been recognized as he prepares to sit in the lead car of the parade.

This gives him the chance to experience the utter spectacle Crosslake’s parade has grown into — going from maybe a half dozen floats in the 1970s to being named the best parade in Minnesota by WCCO-TV in 2018 — but he admits it was still a surprise to be named grand marshal.


“I was shocked, mainly because I thought Karl should be the one,” Fred said. “I have spent so many years in Arizona in the winter … and I was really surprised by how big it is and how wild it is.”

His son thought watching the parade on a small screen may not do it justice to just how big the event has become over the years, and he's excited to take in the parade through Fred’s eyes.

“I think it will be surprising for him when he sees how many people line up on the streets,” Karl said. “It really is amazing how many people are there watching.”

The parade will begin at 2 p.m. near Crosslake’s Town Square and will end at the Log Church on County Road 66. The route is a half mile longer this year.

“I think it is quite the honor to be the grand marshal … It is going to be new to me — that’s for sure,” Fred said. “I have never been in anything like that before, but I think it’s going to be fun.”

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at .

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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