FINN NEWS: Take advantage of summer Finnish events

Right now, my mind and body are protesting, "But, summer just started! And there's only a month left!" In just a few (too few!) days, summer will be winding down and getting ready to end!...

Right now, my mind and body are protesting, "But, summer just started! And there's only a month left!" In just a few (too few!) days, summer will be winding down and getting ready to end!

Although I've managed to get out to a few Finnish events, this summer has been filled with a lot of work. But, at least, a good share of our summer projects have been "in the great outdoors" so I've at least been able to enjoy many of the nice summer days!

August doesn't have many "organized" Finnish activities in our area. Most people prefer to keep this month free to spend as much time as they can with family before other things - including school - start up again in the fall.

To finish off July, coast through August and hop into September, here are some of the Finnish events happening in our Northland. I hope to see you at some!

The state meeting of the Minnesota Finnish-American Historical Society (MFAHS) will be held Saturday, July 25, at Grace Lutheran Church, 5454 Miller Trunk Highway, Hermantown. Hosted by the Järvenpää Chapter 1, coffee will be provided at 9:30 a.m., the meeting starts at 10 a.m., and a delicious lunch served at noon (for a $5 charge). You are invited to join with Finns from all over Minnesota to share ideas, find out what other groups are doing, and visit with old and new friends. And after the meeting, plan to make a stop in Esko to see an old grist mill and Finnish farmhouse with the Esko Historical Society. You'll get more information about the tour at the MFAHS meeting.


It's time for a party! Bring your kids and/or grandkids to "Celebrate an Immigrant's Birthday" on SunFUNday, July 26, from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Duluth Depot. Sponsored by the Nordic Center, kids of all ages can explore the new "Eli's Farm" at the Depot. Plus, they can help celebrate Eli Wirtanen's July birthday, in the style of his ancestors, complete with a Finnish birthday party full of games, songs and birthday treats!

If you feel like a bit of a jaunt and you didn't see Erika Larsen's photography exhibit, "Sami: Walking with Reindeer," earlier this spring, you can still see it this summer until Aug. 22. It's now displayed at the Sami Cultural Center's Spirit Room Gallery, 111 Broadway N., in Fargo, N.D. It's well worth the trip!

Another SunFUNday is coming up in August. "Meet the Moomins!" is scheduled from 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, at the Depot. Sponsored by the Nordic Center, storyteller and professor Dr. Emily Woster will share the adventures of the Moomins as they explore nature and celebrate diversity. Bring your kids or grandkids for a wonderful afternoon with those cute little Finnish critters!

For the "last days of summer fun", head over to New York Mills on Saturday, Aug. 29 and/or Sunday, Aug. 30, for the 40th Annual Summer Folk Festival at the Finn Creek Museum. Whatever your interest is, they are sure to have something fun for you! Besides tours of the various museum buildings, you can enjoy and watch the demonstrations and activities, like the blacksmithing, log sawing, rug weaving and other crafts. And there's lots of other things to do, like: pet the animals at the barn; take a horse drawn wagon ride; check out the model trains; cheer for the contestants in the antique tractor pull, the garden tractor pull, the ATV pull, and the children's tractor pull; or attend the Ecumenical Church Service.

There's also music galore to excite your feet or soothe your spirit! Plus, what would a Finn event be without food! You can find just about everything from snacks to full meals to Finnish treats, and then top it all off with homemade pie and ice cream! Before you leave, don't forget to stop by the tori where you'll find authentic Finnish products, like Marimekko textiles, iittala and Arabia glassware, Fazer candies, and sauna supplies. All of this for only $4 per day ($6 for both days and children $1 or free). To make sure you catch every bit of fun during both days, "rent a spot" for your RV for the night ($20). For more information, check out their website at or call them at 218-385-3498 (or 385-2233).

As we get into September, we have a couple of really great musical opportunities that I strongly encourage you to attend. So mark your calendars!

The Finlandia Foundation National (FFN) Northland Chapter is sponsoring a Kardemimmit concert on Sunday, Sept. 13, starting at 3 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 5454 Miller Trunk Highway, Hermantown. I heard these four young women a couple of years ago and they are wonderful! They perform Finnish folk music using their 15 and 38 stringed kanteles. Some of their music consists of modern folk songs composed by them, and most of their music follows the Finnish traditions of reki-style singing, Perhonjoki valley kantele, Karelian small kantele, runo-song traditions, and archaic improvisation. You can find information about the group and check out a few of their songs at .


Then travel up to Virginia a few days later to catch another musical concert! Sara Pajunen, a native of Minnesota's Iron Range, will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the historic Kaleva Hall, 125 Third St. N. Sara is the FFN 2015-2016 Performer of the Year, and she is considered an "amazing musician...among the most ambitious, versatile and talented practitioners of Finnish folk music outside of Finland." Her concert will feature instrumental and vocal Finnish music as well as her tribute to Finland's greatest composer, Jean Sibelius, on this 150th anniversary of his birth. The Kaleva Corporation of Virginia and the FFN Finnish Americans and Friends Hibbing Chapter are joint hosts for this performance. They are suggesting a $10 free will donation and they invite you to stay for coffee and refreshments after the concert.

Well, these upcoming August days will wrap up another great summer. Don't miss any bit of fun, family, and Finn time! Winter will be here before we are really ready for it.

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