FinnFest was a big success

To the editor:

The handful of Finns and Smis who landed in Hancock on the Midsummer Eve in 1865 couldn’t have imagined that 148 years later the entire Copper Country would come to commemorate and celebrate Finnish-American culture and life with thousands of guests from across the United States, as well as from Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and Denmark taking part.

On behalf of the FinnFest USA 2013 board of directors, and our managing director Susie Landers, I want to express heartfelt and absolute appreciation for the many, many people who made FinnFest 2013 a smashing success. With ten local tours, the education and business forums, 51 performance groups and over 150 lecturers and demonstrators, art and interpretive exhibits, two toris, children’s programming, and so much more, this was one huge FinnFest.

The success of this week-long event was made possible by commitment and resources of the following FinnFest partners – Finlandia University, Michigan Technological University, Cities of Hancock and Houghton, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, Village of Calumet, Calumet Township, Main Street Calumet, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Toivola Senior Citizens, Toivola Volunteer Fire Department, and Bridgefest.

But the credit goes far beyond this, and includes the 109 donors, the 500 plus volunteers, and the enthusiasm and hospitality of thousands of residents of the Copper Country.

Since the FinnFest Finnish board, managing director Susie Landers and others integral to making FinnFest happen we have been receiving hundreds of letters, e-mails, Facebook entries and phone calls, all of which have been appreciative of the event. Repeatedly, visitors have commented on the hospitableness of everyone in the Copper Country. It seems that everyone has a story of how a stranger went the extra mile to make these visitors feel at home. Thanks to you the shuttle drivers, the host families, the universities’ employees, the lectures docents, those who manned the registration and admissions tables and to everyone who helped make this the “best FinnFest ever!” as so many people have written.

Thank you all. Kiitos.

Jim Kurtti

FinnFest USA 2013