Sharon OJanpa Mackey, FHM Staff Reporter

stubfinnsOn Monday, December 11, 2017, the Finish Heritage Museum (FHM) of Fairport Harbor, Ohio, held its final monthly meeting of the year.

We celebrated both Finland’s 100th year of independence and Pikkujoulu with a party held in the Fellowship Hall of Zion Lutheran Church in Fairport Harbor. The meeting room at the Museum, where the monthly gatherings are generally held, promised to be too small for the number of guests. Approximately 55 people were in attendance.

Anne Pohto took charge of the table decorations and went for the old fashioned and traditional look – what people would have used 100 years ago. Luckily, some Museum members still had old-world seasonal decorations. Annikki Tompkins, Maija Roznak, Anne Pohto, and Virpi Buck were kind enough to lend their personal decorations to the tables. Some table decorations were even provided from the Museum’s own collection. Finnish table runners, wooden candleholders, wooden Christmas trees, elves, straw goats and other straw ornaments, and pine greens were all used to great effect. One table was provided with holiday greeting cards, signed by attendees, for members and friends who were not able to get out.

FHM President Lasse Hiltunen greeted the guests and gave the opening invocation. Everyone stood and sang both the Star-Spangled Banner and Finland’s national anthem – Maamme. Lasse read a greeting to all Finnish expatriates from President Sauli Niinistö of Finland. Lasse also thanked Anne for her work in getting the celebration organized and managed.

The Stubborn Finns (pictured above) then took the floor. Chip1 Chip Knox (pictured below) explained that this group began singing together in 1986. Today their concerts are limited to special occasions. Members of the Stubborn Finns are Tim Hadden, Helen Hadden, David Katila, Milly Laituri, Ailiin Andrews, Jane Hiltunen, and Chip Knox. Heikki Perttu plays the piano and directs the group. The group sang several Finnish Christmas carols to the enjoyment of all. When they completed their performance, Virpi Buck led her Finnish language class in two Finnish Christmas songs. Members of her class include John and Carol Vrabel, Karen Chapman, and Jeff Werronen. They did very well for Finnish language novices.

Lasse then introduced FHM member and Fulbright Finland scholar Mike Loovis and his wife Cindy. In November, 2017, Mike and Cindy attended a Fulbright Finland reception at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. Mike, a Fulbright Finland scholar in 2010, presented Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador, looviswith a letter of introduction from Lasse and a framed photo of the Spirit of Finland sculpture. This sculpture, by Ken Valimaki, stands in front of the Finnish Heritage Museum in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Mike had expected this presentation to be done privately, but it became part of the Ambassador’s program for the scholars.

In return, Mike received on behalf of the Museum, a framed picture of his wife Cindy; Ambassador Kauppi; Terhi Mölssa, the Chief Executive Officer of Fulbright Finland and himself, . He also brought back to the Museum a booklet about the Ambassador’s residence in Washington D.C. What an honor this was for Mike and for FHM!

The FHM celebration was not yet done. Still to come was a drawing for a brand new TV. Second prize was a $50 gift certificate to spend in the Museum gift shop, with a $25 gift certificate for third prize. These generous prizes were won respectively by Keith Moyer, Jovette Hiltunen, and Mike and Sylvia Marcum.

We can’t forget about the food at this wonderful Pikkujoulu. There was an overabundance of finger foods made and shared by all; so no one should have gone home hungry. Rumor has it that there was even enough food for partakers to carry home.

Although our programs and celebrations for 2018 may not be as immeasurable or as numerous as in 2017, they promise to be very interesting and informative. We hope you will join us as much as is possible. For a schedule of upcoming events, please check our website at finnishheritagemuseum.org. We are looking forward to seeing new friends and old in this coming year.

Text © Sharon Mackey, Photos © Donna Lesiacsek 2017









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