FAFF Midsummer Event

FAFF and the Naselle Archives Center are sponsoring a Mid-Summer event, “Juhannus” on Friday, June 24th at the Naselle Community Center: 14 Parpala Road, Naselle. Travis Boggs, local caterer from “Country Catering” and wife Jennifer Boggs, will be providing a delicious Salmon dinner or cheeseburger dinner of your choice. The dinner will begin at 5:00 p.m. with your choice of either salmon or cheeseburger with roasted potatoes, macaroni salad, beet root salad, coffee or lemonade. The Salmon dinner is $20 pre-sale or $25 at the door. The cheeseburger meal is $10 pre-sale or $15 at the door.

The Appelo Archives Center will be providing a wonderful beer garden outside with spirits also available, Please go to the link included for more info and pre-sale information: appeloarchives.org

Our performers for this special event hail from Arizona. They are Kathi Huhtaluhta and Marvin Todacheenie. We are excited to have them come here for this special event at the Naselle Community Center: 14 Parpala Road, Naselle, Wa. 98638. Kathi Huhtaluhta is a vocalist/composer and musician of Finnish/Sami decent who lives in Tucson, Arizona. She has written, composed and performed music in different languages including Spanish, Finnish and Turkish. Kathi began performing traditional styles of Sami music in collaboration with Native American flute player Marvin Todacheenie. Their collaboration and blend of Native American flute and original folk music is a magical combination. Kathi has produced 8 albums. She also has a number of music videos on You Tube. Kathi was a recipient of the National Finlandia grant. She composes her own music and sings and plays guitar and drums. Her music has brought an awareness of Finland, Scandinavia and the Sami people to the rest of the world.

Marvin Todacheenie is of Navajo descent. He is a 4th generation flute carver, artisan and craftsman, continuing the tradition of his people. Marvin crafts native drums and jewelry in ways handed down to him through generations. He is a world-renowned flute player. He shares his beautiful songs and the music of his native culture on the flutes that he himself carved. Marvin also plays guitar and is self-taught. Kathi and Marvin were both highlighted performers in Finn Fest USA.

Virtual: The 46th Annual Kalevala Event: Finnish Kantele: Remembering Wilho

The National Nordic Museum together with the Finnish Choral Society invites you to the 46th Annual Kalevala Day Festival—Finnish Kantele: Remembering Wilho. This year’s event is virtual. 

The Kalevala Day Tradition goes back to 1835, when the national epic of Finland, the Kalevala, was published for the first time by Elias Lönnrot. The Kalevala epic played an important part in developing Finland’s national identity and Finnish language, art, and music. The first Kalevala Day was celebrated on February 28th, in 1885. The Kalevala Day celebration continues to this day in Finland with cultural events.

The Finnish Choral Society of Seattle has maintained and Annual Kalevala Day since 1976 in Seattle, hosted at the National Nordic Museum since 1982. 

This 45-minute YouTube program will feature the Finnish Choral Society of Seattle, the Evergreen Livakat Kantele players, and Arja Kastinen, kantele player and first Finnish folk musician to earn Doctor of Music at Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland.  

The program will honor the passing of Wilho Saari, Washington State kantele player and composer who received numerous awards including the Washington State Governor’s Heritage Award, the Finlandia Foundation National Performer of the Year, and the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2006 – the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Cost: Free; RSVP to receive the link in your receipt

Starting at 3:00pm on Sunday, April 24th, you can view this program here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkejBX8-dl0

History of FAFF

Finnish American Folk Festival History

The history of the Finnish American Folk Festival was intertwined with researchers from Finland from the beginning.  Pertti Virtaranta and graduate student Hanelle Jonsson Korhola traveled to Canada, Ohio and the Upper Peninsula to discuss the words used in these places for such common things as a log truck, coffee, and baking.  Their work took them to Grayland, WA, Clatskanie, OR and finally Naselle.

Finnish scholar Pertti Virtaranta and his assistant Hanelle Jonsson Korhola visited Naselle  in 1980. They met many local Finnish-Americans and interviewed Martha and Lauri Wirkkala and Eino Pakenen.  Sue Pakenen Holway had been writing down the stories of her neighbors on the South Fork/ Knappton Road. Hanele Jonsson Korhola  urged her to continue, but to get others involved.  Thus, Sue interviewed even more neighbors and friends, plus took pictures.   Next she wanted to present the results to the community.  In the meantime, Maria Wirkkala and Carlton Appelo had been in Washington D.C. at the national Folklife Festival and had the idea of an outdoor festival displaying arts and crafts with musicians and performers and food available. Sue brainstormed with Anna Ehrlund, Peggy Busse, Eleanora Hillis, Sally Swanson, Norilyn Pakenen, Martha and Lauri Wirkkala, and Carlton Appelo.  Elaine Wirkkala kept notes of these sessions. They now had a team and decided to apply for a grant from the Washington Commission of the Humanities.  Next they sought out six people from Clatsop Community College, Longview Community College, and Clark College as advisors.

The core group recruited another sixty volunteers to help with the one-day event to be held at the Naselle schools on July 24, 1982. They expected perhaps 300 attendees.  They were astounded when over 3000 came to Naselle, the “little village with the big heart.”  There was a constant array of activities from 10:00 am until midnight.

The organizers were so encouraged, they immediately incorporated and were granted their  501(c) (3) status in 1984.

The festival continues to happen at the end of July on even numbered years.  The dates for 2016 are July 29th-31st.  A Golf Tournament will be held on July 28th.  The theme for this year’s festival is “My Finnish Memories.”  The Washington State Arts Commission considers our festival one of the most authentic folk life festivals in the state.

Attendees can enjoy music, dance, exhibits, lectures, films, food demonstrations, kantele and genealogy workshops as well as sample authentic foods from the numerous vendors.  They can participate in the Paavo Nurmi Run/Walk, wife carry contest, and the Nokia phone toss.  Those who love to shop can find many a treasure in the Tori (marketplace). A large photo exhibit focuses on the history of the area and on our treasured ancestors.  Special activities for children are always included.  Sunday the exhibits, the food booths, and the Tori are not open, but there is always a large crowd at the nondenominational worship service on the Rueben Penttila field and for the coffee and pulla served afterwards.

As plans are finalized, the registration forms for the Golf Tournament and the Paavo Nurmi Run/Walk will be available on our website:  nasellefinnfest.com.  The daily schedule of events will be posted much closer to the festival dates.

When you see Sue or correspond with her, thank Naselle’s “Galvanized Finn” for initiating our festival, for giving our little community international recognition, and for all her years of work to make sure it happens and continues to grow.