Press release for the 2016 Festival



NASELLE – The eighteenth biennial Finnish American Folk Festival will take place at the schools in Naselle, WA, USA, July 29th-31st.

This cultural event presents a feast for all the senses.  Sight-authentic costumes, folk dancers,  historic photos,  genealogy charts and cut flower arrangements.   Hearing-music including the Finnish national instrument, the kantele, presentations on numerous topics.  Taste and smell-Finnish foods such as makkkara, sima, pannukakku, leipä.  Touch-hugs galore from friends and family and new acquaintances.  It is a fun-filled event for all ages, and the only admission is a donation.

Those who golf can participate in the tournament at the Peninsula Golf Course in Long Beach, WA, on Thursday, July 28th.  Pre-registration is necessary.  Applications can be downloaded from the new website:

Festivities begin at 10:00 am Friday, July 29th, at the school which is at the junction of SR 401 and SR 4.  The Tori (marketplace) is open until 6:00 pm as are all the exhibits and food vendors.  The featured film at opening is a documentary produced by the Nordic American Voices, part of Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum. “This is My Childhood; Finland at War” includes excerpts from the interviews of 26 Finnish-Americans who lived in Finland during WWII. Many of them were sent to Sweden for safety. The film is 58 minutes long. Other presentations that day in the Cultural Programming Series cover the Finnish Civil War and Finland in WWII, thoughts on how a person comes in touch with his Finnish roots, the history of the Finns in New Sweden, why those from Nordic countries came to the Lower Columbia, the history of the Longview/Kelso area Finns, and beginning genealogy.  Friday afternoon the national anthems will be presented as well as the May Pole Dancers.  New this year is Laulaa Out Loud Kids Chorus with 3-11 year olds singing in Finn.  From 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Appelo Archives Center will host a reception for performers and presenters at 1056 SR 4 (two miles east of the schools).  This is for adults only and the only time the AAC will be open during the festival.  Friday night’s program includes Lisa Bighill, the Naselle Kanteles, Acustica, and the FinnAm Choir.

Saturday starts early with a pannukakku breakfast served by the ESA from 7:00-10:00 am.  It is followed by the Paavo Nurmi Run/Walk for all ages at 8:00 am  If a souvenir t-shirt is a priority, pre-registration is necessary.  The form can be downloaded from the website or call Haleigh See at 360.484.3878.  The Opening Ceremony takes place from 10:00 am  to 11:30 am in the stadium.  Again, the exhibits, lectures, Tori and food booths are open from 10:00 am-6:00 pm.  Gene Quilhaugh, Carl Wirkkala, Folk Voice, Amigos Nobles, Skamokawa Swamp Opera, Valerie Blessley, the Laulaa Out Loud Kids Chorus, Dale Bradley, and Toby Hansen and the Smilin’ Scandinavians will provide music for the rest of the day and evening. The Astoria Scandinavian Dancers and the Katrilli Dancers will be fun to watch with their colorful costumes and fancy steps.

Three of Friday’s presentations will repeat on Saturday with additional information on Naselle history, on Sami shaman ancestors, and on the successes and frustrations tracing family genealogy.  There will also be a beginning Finnish language class for youth and a presentation by Jim Kurtti, editor of the Finnish American Reporter, for people interested in Finnish-American archival materials and keepers of records.

Besides all of the above, there is a golf tournament on Thursday, a Paavo Nurmi Run/Walk, a wife toss, and other games on Saturday.  Don’t forget to visit the Tori (marketplace) and all the special exhibits such as art, the museum, Finnish war memorabilia, the photo displays, the Viking ship and the arts and crafts.  There will be lots of authentic foods and a salmon dinner, plus food demonstrations.

Sunday ends with a Closing Ceremony, a worship service followed by coffee and pulla.  The exhibits, food vendors, and Tori will not be open that day.  Also, there are no lectures or musical performances on Sunday.

Pets are not allowed on the school grounds with the exception of service animals. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

All the school facility is handicapped accessible.  Handicapped parking is in front of the school and in the back closest to the gym.

Parking for all others is at the State Patrol and DOT offices at the entrance to the

schools, and across SR 4 by the coffee kiosk.  Parking is also available at the Naselle churches:  Assembly of God, Lutheran, and Congregational.  Pacific Transit provides shuttle service to the school.

Check out the new website for specific times:  Call Mike Swanson at  360.484.3388 if you have questions not answered on the website or you do not have a computer.

Come connect with your Finnish roots or to learn about the Finnish culture no matter what your nationality.  You will be warmly welcomed in this “little village with the big heart” and are sure to go away energized and with many positive memories.