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Finnish celebrations, meetings ramp up with fall season

September.... This beginning-of-fall month brings a lot of good with it: cooler temps, the excitement of "back to school," the getting back to groups and clubs, and the everyday, ordinary activities of living.

As much as I really like summer, the season becomes almost like a much-anticipated vacation trip that you are finally happy to be doing. You thoroughly enjoy every moment of your trip while it's happening ... until you are nearing the end. Then you just want to go home ... back to the usual. It's like you need a vacation from vacation. That's what September is for me. The time to go home and get back to the "normal" things in life.

Following are some of these normal activities along with a few special events and a couple of extra-special "Finland 100" once-in-a-lifetime events planned for the rest of this anniversary year.

Are you interested in learning or practicing your Finnish speaking skills? Every Thursday, Finns and friends get together in Embarrass at the Nelimark Farm from 1-3 p.m. for a conversational Finn class activity. Consider joining them!

The Hibbing Finnish Americans and Friends group meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Tourist Center Senior Citizens building on East Howard Street. The program will feature Jeanne Doty's special presentation about the life of Viola Turpeinen.

The Ladies of Kaleva Aallottaren Tupa #15 meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave., Duluth. Lisa Fitzpatrick will talk about education and the arts in Finland. She and two local ladies were funded by a Finlandia Foundation grant to do this study in Finland. A coffee time and regular meeting will follow.

The Knights and Ladies of Kaleva Pohjolaisen Maja #25 and Soinnuttaren Tupa #32 of Virginia will also return to their regular meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays at Kaleva Hall, 125 Third St. N., Virginia. The September meetings will include the business meeting Sept. 14 and a short meeting and program Sept. 28.

The fall meeting of the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society (MFAHS) will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in the Messiah Room at Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave., Duluth.

The Ladies of Kaleva Vellamon Tupa #4 in Ely will hold their monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, in the Grahek Apartment Community Room. For more information, contact Sally at

The Cloquet Ladies of Kaleva Väinöttären Tupa #24 will meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at Thomson Town Hall, 25 E. Harney Road, Esko.

All of the above groups welcome prospective members and interested people to their meetings, so please don't hesitate to go, even if you don't know anyone there.

The 2017 FinnFest will soon be here with all the music, speakers and special events that Finns love. Held in Minneapolis Sept. 21-24, the festival will explore the past, the present, and the future of the world we live in ... through Finnish eyes. Make plans and reservations to attend very soon!

The Finnish male choir Runebergskören, from Porvoo, Finland, will present a music concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Weber Music Hall at UMD. The choir, which is now directed by Teppo Salakka, was first organized over 90 years ago and is named after Finland's national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg, who wrote the text to Finland's national anthem. The choir's repertoire consists of both secular and sacred songs in Finnish, Swedish and English, and includes songs from the 1600s to more modern songs. There is no charge for the concert but a freewill donation will be taken to help cover performance costs. A reception will follow the concert so attendees have a chance to meet and talk with the choir members who are very excited to visit the Midwest on their first ever U.S. tour (Duluth is one of only seven concert stops). This is a special Finland 100 music tour and a great opportunity to meet musicians from Finland! Plan to attend to support the group, hear some wonderful Finnish music, and to show fellow Finns our "Finnesota Nice!"

I highly encourage you to support our local Finnish groups and their activities as well as all of the special events with guest speakers and musicians. It is a wonderful way to keep in touch with your Finnish roots, share Finnish activities with friends and family, and to pass your love of Finland on to your children, grandchildren and other family members, especially during this 2017 year celebrating the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence!