Sharon OJanpa Mackey, FHM Staff Reporter

bonfire18The Finnish Heritage Museum (FHM) in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, celebrated Juhannus on June 11, 2018, with a gathering on the shores of Lake Erie at Fairport Harbor. I know, I know; June 11th isn’t the exact date of midsummer, but it was the date of the museum’s regular meeting. And who’s to say it’s wrong to celebrate early and often?

Approximately eighty people joined together around a huge bonfire on the beach, most bringing food to share and tales to tell. Before we go any further, I need to mention the young men, teenagers I’d guess, but it’s funny how more people look younger every year while I get older. Anyway, these two teens were skateboarding on the beach road and boardwalk. Their curiosity must have been aroused as the huge bonfire structure began to take place, and they were drawn to our picnic group. What was going on? They wanted to know. When told FHM was building a bonfire, and a large one, they asked if they could help. Of course they could. And this is a good example of the wonderful young people in Fairport Harbor and vicinity today. Heikki Penttila, Dave Katila, and Mike Katila were in charge of designing and putting together the bonfire frame so the fire would burn correctly. And burn it did, with enough heat to keep the participants warm on this cool evening.

As mentioned before, most of the attendees brought a dish to share with others, so there was plenty of food to go around. In addition, Ron and Nina Boyette cooked sausages on the beach grills. Linda Penttila, Barb Ollila, and Suzanne Jokela made sure there were enough paper plates and cups to go around. It seemed that everyone who attended played a part in making the evening a great success.

On another front, Ken Quiggle and his CCG Committee are diligently preparing for a busy summer at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Cleveland, Ohio. These beautiful gardens are well worth a drive along MLK Drive. This year, One World Day will be held there on Sept. 16, and promises to be worth the trip. Ken and his FHM committee will make sure the Finnish garden is at its best during this time.

Ken has also been busy keeping the landscaping at the museum weed free, even through the hot spells we have had. His work showcases our Ken Valimaki sculpture, “The Spirit of Finland.” This sculpture continues to amaze museum members and Fairport village visitors every day. For a picture and essay about this sculpture, please see our website: www.finnishheritagemuseum.org.

Back by popular demand will be the third installment of the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. This one is titled "Murder on Walnut Hill". The date is September 14; the place, the Hungarian Culture Club; the period, the 1930s. Come dressed in costume, or not, but come and join us for an evening of suspense and fun. Tickets are available at the museum.

There is a lot going on in our small village this summer, and the Finnish Heritage Museum is a large part of all the activities. We hope you will get a chance to stop by and see us. Museum hours are Saturday 10 – 3; Sunday and Wednesday noon to 4.

Text © Sharon Mackey, Photo © Lasse Hiltunen 2018








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