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Finn News: Northland celebrates Finland's 100th anniversary

We've had some really wonderful Finnish events and concerts going on all over the Northland for the past several months. We had a fantastic time at the Runebergskoren Choir and Kardemmimit concerts, and I heard rave reviews about events we just couldn't get to, including the Fall Music Festival at Kaleva Hall.

Life just gets too busy to attend everything, right? But I urge you to get out and attend what you can, especially of the "once-in-a-lifetime" events. There are still a few more before the beginning of December, when Finns around the world will celebrate Finland's 100th Anniversary of Independence.

Head north to the Ely-Winton Historical Society Museum soon to get in on their celebration not only of Finland's 100th anniversary, but also the 150th year of Finnish immigration to Minnesota. A special exhibit, featuring 12 panels showing different aspects of Finnish immigrant life in Minnesota, is still being shown at the museum from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays. The exhibit will be leaving soon, but you can still see it right now at the museum in the Vermilion Community College in Ely. Call 218-365-3226 for information or to arrange for a visit on other days.

An art exhibit, "Taide Yhdessa!," will be shown at the Nordic Center, 23 North Lake Ave., Duluth, until early November. This collaborative exhibition, by Kirsten Aune, Lisa Fitzpatrick and Alison Aune, celebrates the 100th anniversary of Finnish Independence. They will also present a couple of workshops including one from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 5, on fabric design. Contact for more.

It's time for Christmas shopping! Two holiday sales will be held at the Nelimark Farm in Embarrass from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Nov. 10-11 and Dec. 8-9. To find a special gift, head to the farm located at 4839 Salo Road, Embarrass.

Here's another "can't miss" event: On Nov. 18, we can all be part of a very special reunion of the Santa family Third Generation group. Jeanne (Santa) Doty, retired UMD professor of music, and her brother, Gregg Santa, of the Norwegian National Opera Chorus, will present "Songs from Grandpa: Celebrating Finland's Independence through Music," starting at 10:30 a.m. The venue has changed and the performance will be held at the Encore Performing Arts Center in Cloquet. Come early; seating is limited.

Also Nov. 18, the Virginia Ladies of Kaleva Soinnuttaren Tupa 32 will hold their annual Holiday Bazaar at Kaleva Hall in Virginia. The doors will be open by 9 a.m. Explore the treats and gifts, crafts and surprises located all over the hall. Enjoy a cup of coffee and some pulla. Lunch will be available, too. Sneak a peek at the work that has been and is being done to restore Kaleva Hall.

It's time to get your tickets for the annual Pikkujoulu and Itsenäisyyspäivä (Independence Day) Celebration sponsored by the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society (MFAHS) Järvenpää Chapter 1. This event celebrates Finland's Centennial and will be held Dec. 3 at the Holiday Inn in Duluth. The celebration will include a program and noon luncheon. Contact Donna at 218-879-4871 or, or Arlene at to get your tickets.

There will be another special Itsenäisyyspäiväjuhla event celebrating 100 years of Finnish Independence Dec. 6 at the Duluth Depot Great Hall and Steffl Gallery in Duluth, featuring a Finnish-American Art Exhibit and Finnish Independence Gala, including an artists' reception, live music, Finnish-inspired refreshments, proclamations, and displays from 5-8:30 p.m. with a special program at 6:30 p.m. The event is free. For more information, check the Finland 100 - Northland page on Facebook.

From 1-3 p.m. Dec. 2, the Carlton County Historical Society (CCHS) will host an exhibit opening and reception called "100 Years of Finnish Independence." This special exhibit will be in conjunction with Cloquet's "Home for the Holidays" celebration, and can be seen at the CCHS museum, 406 Cloquet Ave., Cloquet.

CCHS will also celebrate Finnish Independence Day at 1 p.m. Dec. 6, with a program by museum Director Rachael Martin on the Finnish folk epic, the Kalevala. This event is also at the CCHS museum.

That takes care of the "special events," but don't forget to check out the regular meetings of some of the local Finnish groups, too.

The next Finnish American and Friends meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 7, at the Tourist Center Senior Citizens building in Hibbing. Mary Lukkarila, recently retired Cloquet library director, will give a presentation on the topic of DNA of the Finnish people, which will especially interest those who plan to get their own DNA information.

Local Knights and Ladies of Kaleva groups will meet, too, and they all invite you to stop by and check them out. The groups and their meeting dates include:

• Väinöttären Tupa 24, Cloquet, will meet at 5 p.m. Nov. 15, at the Thomson Town Hall, 25 E. Harney Road, Esko.

• Aallottaren Tupa 15, Duluth, will meet at 6 p.m. Nov. 13, at the Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave., Duluth. There will be a presentation by poet Sheila Packa.

• Pohjolaisen Maja 25 and Soinnuttaren Tupa 32, Virginia, will meet at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 and 23, at Kaleva Hall, 125 Third St. N., Virginia.

• Vellamon Tupa 4, Ely, will meet at 1 p.m. Nov. 28, at the Grahek Apartments Community Room.

I want to give my heartiest thanks and congratulations to the many people and groups who have worked hard to bring some absolutely fantastic opportunities to our area for all of us Finns to celebrate Finland's 100th Anniversary!