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Plan to attend any number of midsummer festivals

Wow! When I thought that life couldn't get much busier, then comes June with all the Midsummer Festivals PLUS the Finland 100 special events!

June is Kesäkuu (in Finnish), which most likely means "fallow moon" ("kesä" from the word "kesanto" which means fallow ground and "kuu" for moon) as June is the month when fallow farm fields are plowed for the first time of the year. Here's to a June filled with lots of planned (and planted) activities, ripe for your picking!

After a long wait, the Traveling Sauna will finally arrive in northern Minnesota in early June. Pick which day fits your schedule or location. I think this is one of those must-see events! Here is when and where it will be stationed:

• June 1: Finland, Minn., contact FinlandMNHS@gmail.com.

• June 2: Duluth from 4-10 p.m. at the Duluth Lakewalk near the Endion Station. Demonstrations of vihta/vasta making and the the game Mölkky will also be available. Contact Steve Leppala (steve.leppala@gmail.com) for more information.

• June 3: Embarrass from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nelimark Homestead Museum for National Sauna Day. There will be sauna tours, music, food, bakery, crafts, games, and much more. Visit www.sisuheritage.org or email info@sisuheritage.org for more information.

• June 4: Virginia from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Olcott Park.

• June 5: Hibbing from 2-7 p.m. at Carey Lake. For more information, contact Mary Ann at magomsi@hotmail.com.

Find out more at www.travelingsauna.com. It's fun to track its travels! I encourage every Finn and their friends and families to make the time to see this Traveling Sauna before it heads out to the East Coast and southern states. This is a once in a lifetime memory-maker!

The Finnish Americans and Friends (FAF) will meet Tuesday, June 6 for a presentation by Aaron Brown, an instructor at Hibbing Community College and a journalist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune. Brown will discuss his interviews with Gus Hall, the Iron Range's famous Communist Party Presidential candidate. The program will begin at 2 p.m. at the Hibbing Tourist Center Senior Citizens.

The Naantali Chamber Choir, a Finnish choir with more than 20 singers, will give a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, June 9, at First Lutheran Church, Duluth. The Naantali Choir has toured all over Europe and Canada and will perform Finnish music from classical to contemporary, and share stories about Finnish life and nature. The public also has a chance to visit with the choir earlier that same day as members of the Ladies of Kaleva Aallottaren Tupa #15 and First Lutheran Church will serve a luncheon at 1 p.m. for the choir members and anyone who would like to attend. A free-will donation is requested for the luncheon as well as for the concert. To attend the luncheon, you must RSVP with Elaine (218-525-4435) or Arlene (tuck5080@yahoo.com) by June 2.

The Knights and Ladies of Kaleva Otavan Maja and Valvottaren Tupa of Eveleth will hold their annual Juhannus (Midsummer) Festival from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, at Kaleva Island, on Highway 37 south of Eveleth. The afternoon will feature a luncheon (small admittance charge), bake sale, raffle, sauna and swimming (bring your own towels), music and special program. The day will end with the traditional kokko (bonfire). For more information, contact Ruth at 218-744-4596.

The weekend of June 23-25 will be filled with FinnFun in honor of Finland's 100th anniversary! Make plans to attend the Ely Folk School's Finnish Midsummer Weekend June 23-25 at the Folk School in Ely. As of this date, classes and events that have been planned so far include workshops on wet-felted baskets, Sami-friendship bracelet (beginners and intermediates), and photographing orchids (with photographer Ken Hupila). And, in addition, Diane Jarvi, internationally-known kantele musician, singer, and poet, will present a kantele concert and a workshop on playing the kantele. For more information, check out www.elyfolkschool.org or call 218-235-0138.

"Finland 100 — Let's Celebrate!" is the theme of a wonderful, must-see Finland 100 celebration event planned for Saturday, June 24, at the Historic Kaleva Hall in Virginia. The Finn Hall Band will present a concert of Finnish music at 6 p.m. as well as popular dance music for those wanting to dance starting at 7:30 p.m. There are other things going on, too! At 4 p.m., the Hall will feature a Tori (or marketplace), music, and a book signing with authors Solie Anderson and Eleanor Ostman with their new book, "Celebrations to Remember." In addition, sandwiches, salad, bars, coffee and pulla will be available. From 4-5:30 p.m., self-guided tours are encouraged of the Hall's Finnish decor, artifacts and displays. At 5 p.m., a presentation will be given by the authors. Anderson is Finnish-born and founded Deco Catering, The Taste of Scandinavia, and the Finnish Bistro in the Twin Cities. Ostman is a Finnish-American from Hibbing and is well-known in Twin Cities food circles for writing a food column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and publishing several food-related books.

In between the 6 p.m. concert and the 7:30 p.m. dance, everyone is invited to enjoy birthday cake in celebration of Finland's 100th birthday. The $15 ticket price includes admission to all the parts of the event as well as inclusion in the raffle drawing of assorted prizes. The whole event is sponsored by the Hibbing Finnish Americans and Friends (FAF) along with the Virginia Knights and Ladies of Kaleva, and is supported by the Finlandia Foundation National and Thrivent. Advance tickets can be purchased from Irma's Finland House and Silver Lake Floral in Virginia. It's going to be a wonderful day!

And finally, on Sunday, June 25, Finns and friends throughout the area are invited to come to the Juhannus Celebration at Sampo Beach on Little Grand Lake in Saginaw (northwest of the Hwy 2 and 194 intersection). The Finlandia Foundation National Northland group encourages everyone to come and enjoy the peace of the lake, the steamy sauna, the kokko, the conversation and the fun! Watch Facebook and local media for more information.

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