FinnFest celebrates all things Finnish

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August 4, 2014
By: Bjorn Saterbak
Bjorn Saterbak

Concerts, lectures, dancing, children’s activities, a special “foodie” day, a “Tori” Finnish marketplace – guests can experience all of this at FinnFest 2014 in downtown Minneapolis from Aug. 7–10.

FinnFest will celebrate 150 years of modern Finnish immigration to North America. The immigration began with Finns coming from Finland and the Swedish Torne River Valley, via Norway, and arriving to start homesteads in Minnesota.

The weekend event will be based at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center.

More than 50 businesses, artists and cultural organizations will be at the vibrant festival hub called the “Tori,” the Finnish word for marketplace. The Tori will also host free music and dance performances Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.

Presentations and panel discussions on 80 topics are focused on eight themes, including music, art and design, literature, the natural world, indigenous people (Sami and Native Americans), Finnish-Swedes and Swedish-Finns, 21st century Finland, and 21st century Finnish-America.

Three pre-festival forums are centered around education in the 21st century (Aug. 6-7), business development (Aug. 7) and genealogy research (Aug. 7). Separate registration charges apply.

Musical performances from classical, world, folk and jazz musicians from the U.S. and Finland will perform at the Hyatt and the Wesley Center.

Here are some of the musical performances:

  • Friday evening concert ($20) – Chamber Orchestra concert conducted by Craig Johnson, featuring cellist Katri Ervarmaa and American premiers of works by Finnish composer Olli Kortekangas
  • Saturday evening concert ($20) – at the Hyatt featuring Finnish pop stars Maarit and Sami Hurmerinta and jazz-folk quintet August Saarinen with Vuolo Virtas
  • Saturday evening concert ($20) – at the Wesley Center featuring Roma folk musicians Hilja Gronfors Trio and Finnish-Anishinaabe singer Lyz Jaakola
  • 12 spotlight concerts featuring American and Finnish musicians ($10 each)
  • 20 concerts at the Tori marketplace (free)

A one-day pass for adults is $35, and a three-day is $80. Children 16 years old and under are free. Visit www.finnfestusa2014.org for more information.