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June 9, 2012
By RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Bob Railey holds great hope for the future of Marquette Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, which this year takes place on June 23 at Presque Isle Park.

That hope comes from a couple of sources.

"This year's entertainment program includes performances by three different groups of youth, two vocal and one instrumental," said Railey, who is festival co-chair. "This is an important element for the local future of Scandinavian culture."

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The Marquette Folk Dancers spin beneath the U.S. and five Scandinavian flags. 

But that's not the only reason Railey is hopeful.

"Our publicity regarding our need for some new leadership did result in several new volunteers," he said. "We still need some more, but the response was encouraging for us to continue Midsummer in future years."

But not in 2013. That's because FinnFest USA will be taking place in the Upper Peninsula's Copper Country from June 19-23, 2013, with the theme "A Midsummer's Eve Dream."

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The schedule:

Marquette Scandinavian Midsummer Entertainment

Saturday, June 23

Presque Isle Park, Marquette

Activities at the bandshell:

11 a.m. - Opening Ceremonies, flags, national anthems, welcoming remarks

11:30 a.m. - Finnish music by Wil Kilpela

noon - Swedish music by the Negaunee Lakeview School Choir

12:30 p.m. - Scandinavian ethnic costume show

1 p.m. - Finnish folk songs by Tanya Stanaway

1:45 p.m. - Scandinavian music by Cathy Moilanen's string students

2:15 p.m. - Scandinavian music by Courtney Clisch

3 p.m. - Little Finnish Singers (students of Tanya Stanaway)

3:30 p.m. - Finnish music by Lumberjakki

4:30 p.m. - Scandinavian music by Tara Pokela

5 p.m. - Scandinavian dance by Marquette Folk Dancers

5:45 p.m. - Scandinavian music by Bob Buchkoe on keyboard

6:30 p.m. - Scandinavian music by Ron Jarvinen Band

8 p.m. - Scandinavian music by White Water

9:30 p.m. - End of programs at the bandshell area

9:45 p.m. - Closing program by John Sarkela

10 p.m. - Midsummer bonfire

10:45 p.m. - End of Midsummer activities

11 p.m. - Park gate closes

In addition to all of the above, there will be activities for the children, vendors of all kinds, food and beverages will be available, and all are encouraged to dance when the mood strikes them.

This doesn't mean the Marquette festival will end: In fact, the next Marquette Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is already on the calendar for Saturday, June 21, 2014.

Which is crucial for those like Railey looking to preserve the Scandinavian heritage of the U.P. and that means from every ethnic group.

"Our primary goal since year one (1999) has been to present and celebrate traditional Scandinavian culture," Railey said. "Because the U.P. is not evenly populated by the five countries, we need help in representing Icelandic and Danish culture especially."

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The other homelands that are part of the festival are Sweden, Norway and Finland. And it's not just the history of these lands and the contribution of its descendants to U.P. culture that's celebrated: The festival also aims to educate people on what's going on today in those five countries.

For those who haven't yet been, the festival includes a variety of music and dance, crafts and a marketplace, ethnic foods, children's activities and more.

It's a day to celebrate the history, hard work and achievements of the Scandinavians who are part of the U.P.

The celebration kicks off with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. with the Swedish Midsummer Pole as the towering center of the event. There will be the recognition of the five flags and the playing of the anthems of the five countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Entertainment in the Presque Isle Bandshell will begin with Wil Kilpela at 11:30 a.m. and will continue throughout the day, with the last performers, White Water, starting at 8 p.m.

Festivities then move to the Bog Walk parking area, with a closing program by John Sarkela at 9:45 p.m., the lighting of the midsummer bonfire at 10 p.m. and the end of activities at 10:45 p.m. The park gates close at 11 p.m.

The Marquette Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is open to all. There is no admission charge and parking is free. Ethnic foods will be available for purchase and crafters will be demonstrating all day.

For more information, visit the group's Facebook page at

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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