Hancock prepares for Heikinpäivä 2002, coming Jan. 18-19
HANCOCK -- Heikinpäivä, or St. Henry's Day, is the day when a hibernating
bear turns over in his sleep, marking the midpoint of winter. It's likely that
on that day in Hancock, however, only the bears will want to be sleeping.
|Barbara David celebrates Finnish and Sami (or Lappish) cultural pride with
her colorful traditional dress during the 2001 Heikinpäivä parade in Hancock. David represented the Hanka Finnish Homestead Museum in
Askel. (File photo by Karin Emond)
When people arrive for the fourth annual Heikinpäivä celebration on January
18 and 19, they'll be treated to some of their favorite activities -- but also
some new elements bound to bring out some Finnish pride in everyone involved.
Among the additions to the Heikinpäivä lineup is the United States' first
ever lumitalo (snow house), a structure built entirely out of snow and
ice. Noted lumitalo architect Seppo Mäkinen, a.k.a "Mr. Snow,"
has come from Finland to assist with the project now in progress, which includes
one snow-house on the campus of Finlandia University in Hancock and another in
Houghton. Ironically, the lumitalo will offer guests an opportunity to
step out of the cold for a moment, as temperatures are remarkably steady inside
Attendees will also be able to "feast" both their eyes and their
stomachs during Heikinpäivä, as this year's program will feature a cooking
workshop, a street theater presentation, a birchbark basket-making class, an
outdoor museum that will display the tools of the early Finnish immigrants, a
re-enactment of the kruunuhäät (crown wedding) and the showing of
documentaries produced by Edmonton, Alberta-based Karvonen Films. If that isn't
enough to see, participants can complete the day's activities by gathering
around the Heikin kokko at the nearby Portage Canal. The bonfire will be
fueled by area residents' discarded Christmas trees.
Of course, this year's Heikinpäivä will again include the events that make
it one of the most popular mid-winter festivals in the Midwest. As with past
years, the festival gets under way at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, in Finlandia
Hall of Finlandia University, with the seisovapöytä (buffet). Advance
tickets are required for the buffet, which will be followed by a dance.
|During Heikinpäivä 2001, skiers take off at the start of the 5-K and 22-K
Heikinpäivä Hiihto ski races at the Maasto Hiihto trails in Hancock. (File
photo by Michele Anderson)
The following day, the celebration will feature annual favorites such as the
reindeer camp and vipukelkka rides on the Hancock Middle School lawn, the
tori in the theater of the Finnish-American Heritage Center, a mini-Salolampi
camp, the Heikinpäivä Hiihto ski race, the polar bear dive into the Portage
Canal and the parade down Quincy Street. Throughout the day, attendees will see
an array of Finnish folklore costumes on display.
The birchbark class, mini-Salolampi camp, cooking class and seisovapöytä
require advance registration. For information about the two classes, contact
Mary Beth Knuuttila at (906) 487-7347. To obtain more information about
Heikinpäivä, or to order dinner tickets, contact Jim Kurtti at (906) 487-7302
or Cynthia Coté at (906) 482-2333.
Heikinpäivä is co-sponsored by the City of Hancock's Finnish Theme
Committee, the Community Arts Center and The Finnish American Reporter.
|Editor's Note: Read more details and an article
about last year's Heikinpäivä celebration (with photos) by Karin Emond
of Green Bay, Wis. -- former reporter for The Daily Mining Gazette
and former guest columnist for Keweenaw Today -- on the Heikinpäivä
Web site at
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