Sharon OJanpa Mackey, FHM Staff Reporter


On September 14, the Museum held a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. But this was no ordinary murder mystery. It was based on fact (stretched a bit perhaps) and performed by members and guests themselves. Anyone who purchased a ticket chose whether or not to have a part in the play itself. As long as your request came in a few days before the dinner, there would be a speaking part for you. The play itself was written by our own Jovette Hiltunen, and took place in the late 1930’s. It began with the discovery of two bodies on Walnut Hill, in Fairport Harbor, right next door to the building that would eventually become our Museum.

The dinner, catered by Rego’s Brick House was very good, and included chicken, beef, and cabbage rolls with a salad and potatoes on the side. FHM members provided desserts. Everything was exceptional. In attendance, and dressed in period costumes, were an admiral, a nun, a policewoman, some flappers, and quite a few mobsters. The purpose of the dinner was to review the first ever Mardi Gras celebration that had taken place on Chestnut Street that summer of 1938, and to plan for the next celebration. But this discussion quickly gave way to the importance of discovering the identities and the murderer of the young man and young lady whose bodies had been uncovered. Two very enthusiastic revelers at left are Virpi Buck and Terry Vale.

Needless to say, the inspector (Jovette) was able to ferret out the murderer and bring him/her to justice. Of course, she had a lot of help from the audience and participants who were not shy about adlibbing or commenting when they felt it necessary. We heard part of a sea shanty sung by the admiral, all were blessed by the nun, and everyone was told when and how to react by a flapper (ooh, gasp, ahh). It must be admitted that after the first few signs were held up, the audience anticipated the oohs and ahs very nicely. Marshall Kris Reed must be commended for making sure the microphone got to everyone who needed to speak so all in attendance knew what was happening. After the killer was uncovered and suitably dealt with, there was time for the auction. Many baskets had been donated for the evening: everything from a beautiful hand painted silk scarf to arts and crafts, to a painting of our lighthouse, to liquor and wine. It was a very successful evening, a great fundraiser, and a lot of good old-fashioned fun.

jokelabasketSuper organizer and producer of behind the scenes activities, FHM Curator Suzanne Jokela explains, rather humorously that the ghost basket was "hers!"


Pictured below are Jovette Hiltunen the murder mystery writer and Lasse Hiltunen, FHM President.

Jovette has written her third mystery production, with this one featuring 38 actors and 230 speeches delivered by the participants.

Attendees were eager to know when the "NEXT" mystery production was planned.

To review our current schedule of meetings and events, please check out our website: finnishheritagemuseum.org. And make sure to look us up if you are in the Fairport Harbor, Ohio, area.



Text © Sharon Mackey, Photos © FHM 2018









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