The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Finnish-American festival this weekend


The eighteenth biennial Finnish American Folk Festival will take place at the schools in Naselle this weekend, July 29th-31st.

This cultural event presents a feast for all the senses--sight-authentic costumes, folk dancers, exhibits such as art, a museum, historic photos, arts and crafts, Finnish war memorabilia, and genealogy charts.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. Friday at the schools which are located at the junction of SR 401 and SR 4. The Tori (marketplace) is open until 6 p.m. as are all the exhibits and food vendors. The featured film at opening is a documentary produced by the Nordic American Voices, part of Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum. "This is My Childhood; Finland at War" includes excerpts from the interviews of 26 Finnish-Americans who lived in Finland during WWII. At 12:30 the nation anthems and Maypole dancers happen. Friday evening’s program of music will begin at 6 p.m. in the school Commons.

Saturday starts early with a pannukakku breakfast served by the ESA from 7-10 a.m. It is followed by the Paavo Nurmi Run/Walk for all ages at 8 a.m. The Opening Ceremony takes place at 10 in the stadium. Again, the exhibits, lectures, Tori and food booths are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday additions include a wife carry contest, Nokia phone toss and boot throw as well as food demonstrations, kantele and genealogy workshops, a salmon dinner served by the Grays River Grange, an evening program including music performers and a play. A dance for all ages in the evening concludes that day’s activities.

This year’s theme “My Finnish Memories” is dedicated to Anna Wirkkala Ehrlund. She has been on the FAFF board since the first festival in 1982. The artwork created by Debbi Littlefield features Anna sitting on her favorite bench at Peaceful Hill Cemetery surrounded by yellow roses and many birds. Here she contemplates her Finnish ancestry and her wonderful church family and neighbors. She loves to star gaze and think about what life brings. She has to have her coffee while doing all this, and it has to be served in a tea cup, not a mug. There will be tributes to Anna during the opening ceremony on Saturday and during the evening program that night

On Sunday, the festival ends with a Closing Ceremony and nondenominational Worship Service followed by pulla (cardamom bread) and coffee served by the Naselle Lutheran Church Priscilla Circle.


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