This summer FinnFest, the annual festival of the Finnish American community, will be slightly different than usual. For thirty-five years, the event has been taken from one city to another around North America, but this summer the organizers decided it was time to travel a bit further. In fact, all the way across the Atlantic to Tampere, Finland!
"Attendees at our American festival sites have been asking: when will FinnFest go to Finland? The time is now. Join us June 24 – 29 for this unique encounter with Finland."
According to this year's organizers, the time was now right to bring FinnFest to Finland. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s civil war, whereas last year was dedicated to Finland's centennial celebration whose theme was Together, "Yhdessä". Tampere was the perfect city to illustrate the togetherness of Finland and Finnish America.
Indeed, this year’s festival will be about showcasing connections: how the industrial, cultural, and political history provides new insights into Finnish America’s own history, and how Tampere’s vibrant contemporary culture reveals how Finland expresses its global presence and its own history.
The Häme region’s industrialization defined Tampere as the economic engine driving early 20th century Finland. Today, Tampere provides the backdrop in which to consider how Finnish people, living and working either in Finland or the USA, created a culture vastly different from the agricultural world into which most had been born. Exhibits, tours, and panels will provide ways to consider the many parallels between Finland’s and Finnish America’s urban communities.
Outside Tampere, small farms and country estates share the land with forests. Attendees will have opportunities to see the remnants of that late 19th century culture and compare how Finnish immigrants to America recreated this life in the forested northern regions of the USA. People will consider contemporary Finnish rural and small-town life and its similarities to Finnish America’s similar situations.
FinnFest USA 2018 specifics
Program June 24 – 29
Tours to destinations around Tampere and the Häme lakes region will enhance panel presentations on contemporary Finnish technical innovation and cultural creativity, plus an in-depth look at the 1918 Finnish Civil War in the context of Tampere then and now. Opportunities to sauna, sing, and dance will define Finland’s long summer evenings.
Sunday-Wednesday: Panel presentations, city site visits, and group experiences
Thursday-Saturday: Tour opportunities beyond the city’s borders.
For more details on registration, programming and housing, please visit the organizisers' website.
Text and image by FinnFest