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Finns Prepare For Independence Day Celebrations

It’s been 150 years since the first Finnish immigrants arrived in the Copper Country.

FAHCThat’s one of the things that will make this year’s Finnish Independence Day extra special as the Finnish community gathers to celebrate on Sunday.


Finnish American Heritage Center Director Jim Kurtti says the ties between those who came over and those who stayed have always been strong.

The event features music and a play by 97-7 The Wolf’s Kris Kyro as well as the naming of this year’s Hankooki Heikki.

The event begins at 2pm.

Here is the full press release:

Finland’s Independence to be celebrated at Finlandia University

HANCOCK, Mich. — One of the Copper Country’s top cultural actresses will debut a one-act play honoring the 150 years of Finns in the Copper Country at Finlandia University’s annual celebration of Finland’s Independence on Sunday, December 6. The university has commemorated the establishment of the Republic of Finland since the beginning in 1917.

Kris Kyro, who established herself as a leading Finnish-American stage performer for her work in FinnFest USA 2013’s opening ceremony, has written a short play from the perspective of an immigrant woman. She will act in one of the play’s two roles, and will share her vocal talents during another segment of the Independence Day program.

The event gets under way at 2 p.m. at Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center, and along with Kyro’s contributions, the program will include performances by the Kivajat Dancers and the Ilon Kaiku kantele ensemble, as well as remarks by Finnish American Historical Archive intern Emppu Siltaloppi, a Finland native who will discuss pre-independence Finland. Throughout the program, Michigan Tech student and Ewen native Daniel Grayvold will provide piano accompaniment, as well as a solo performance of Sibelius’ “Finlandia.”

Also, the city of Hancock’s Finnish Theme Committee will announce the recipient of this year’s Hankooki Heikki award, which is annually bestowed upon a person whose efforts to preserve and promote Finnish culture in the Copper Country are exemplary.

The Theme Committee will also provide refreshments after the program, which is expected to last about one hour. For more information about the program, call FAHC Director Jim Kurtti at 906-487-7302.

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