Finn Fun Day to be held Aug. 25

Tanja Stanaway stands behind her “Heart to Finland” table at a previous Finn Fun Day. She has a large variety of Finn-related items, from Finnish chocolates and coffee to homemade knit socks. She will also have a selection of the five CDs which she has recorded over recent years. (Photo courtesy of Margo Rantanen)

NEGAUNEE — The ninth annual Finn Fun Day will take place on Aug. 25 at the Negaunee Township Hall, 42 State Highway M-35, starting at 11 a.m. and continuing until 3 p.m.

All are welcome, there is plenty of parking, and there is no admission charge. Food will be served, and entertainment and the Tori (market) will happen during the entire event.

The Opening Ceremony at 11 a.m. begins Finn Fun Day with words of welcome by League of Finnish-American Societies president Ron Hill. Tanja Stanaway will lead the singing of the American and Finnish national anthems, accompanied by Pauline Kiltinen on keyboard. Words to the Finnish anthem will be provided.

Entertainment follows, starting with Upper Peninsula singer Courtney Clisch-Jones at 11:30 a.m. She began learning and singing in Finnish to connect with her heritage and has been performing traditional folk songs and hymns in Finnish since. She lives in L’Anse with her husband, Zach, and leads a local high school choir program and teaches private music lessons.

At noon, Tanja Stanaway, who now has five CDs to her credit, will take the stage, singing for us and quite possibly involving the crowd in some easy sing-a-long songs. Tanja’s CDs will be available for purchase at the Tori. There may be a surprise performer or two at this noon time as well.

At 12:30 p.m., Aaren Joki, a first-time performer, will entertain the audience with songs sung in Sami, the language of Finnish Lapland. He will doing some “yoiking,” a unique way of singing in Sami. He is familiar as the entrepreneur of Metsami Creations, his woodcarving business.

At 1 p.m. Pauliina Lehto and Anni Arvio, Finnish interns working at Finlandia University at the Finnish American Reporter office, will present reflections on their first months of being in the United States, calling it “The UP-Finland Connection.” They will also bring greetings from James Kurtti, Honorary Finnish Consul for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and editor of the Finnish American Reporter.

They will be followed at 1:30 p.m. by Dr. Hilary Virtanen, newly elected to the Board of the Finlandia Foundation, taking the place of Dr. Jon Saari, who has retired after 17 years of service. She will give news of the Finlandia Foundation projects like the Performer of the Year and Lecturer of the Year, grants, scholarships and upcoming events.

Dr. Virtanen is an assistant professor of Finnish and Nordic Studies at Finlandia University.

From 2 p.m. until the end of the festive day, Wil Kilpela will play his accordion with music for listening and dancing. He will be joined by Ken Holster on banjo and Tanja Stanaway on guitar.

Gloria Alexander will be available all day for assistance with researching genealogy.

Five vendors this year will staff the Tori, which will be open all day long. Among the booths on Finn Fun Day are Tanja Stanaway’s Heart to Finland, and Janet Wisuri’s Home Baked Goods.

Aaren Joki’s woodworking art, Metsami Creations, will also be sold at the festival. Baltic Inspirations, a U.P. business featuring beautiful knit clothing from Estonia, will be there, staffed by owner Avelin Yost. A variety of Finnish items will be available through Finn Sight, with Anna Leppanen at their Tori table.

A White Elephant Table will again be part of Finn Fun Day this year. It could use items so bring them to the Negaunee Township Hall by 4 p.m. Aug. 24 or by 10 a.m. Aug. 25. No clothing will be accepted for the white elephant table.

A 50/50 drawing will be held twice during the day.

Coffee and “pulla” (cardamom-flavored coffee bread) along with assorted bars and cookies will be available all day long at the kitchen window. In addition, lunch foods will also be available throughout the day, served by Steven Perry of UP Dogs.

Finn Fun Day is sponsored by the League of Finnish American Societies UP Chapter Finlandia Foundation Affiliate. Memberships can be purchased on site.

For more information on Finn Fun Day, call 906-226-7085.