Wednesday, January 22, 2020

UPDATED: Heikinpäivä Mid-Winter Festival continues in Hancock

The Heikinpäivä parade is one of the main events of the annual Mid-Winter Festival in Hancock. This year's parade will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK -- Whether or not you attended the Heikinpäivä enrichment classes and workshops at Finlandia's Finnish American Heritage Center, don't miss the events still to come this week in Hancock's Mid-Winter Festival. The celebration’s themes are taken from Finnish folk sayings associated with the name day for Heikki (Henrik’s day - 19 January).

Each year the Finnish Theme Committee of Hancock selects a Hankookin Heikki (The Heikki of Hancock), who then presides over the Heikinpäivä festivities. This year Mary Pekkala was chosen for this honor because of her contributions to the preservation and enhancement of Finnish-American cultural life in the Copper Country.

Mary Pekkala, the 2020 Hankookin Heikki, is pictured here at the Dec. 6, 2019, Finnish Independence Day celebration, where she received her award and crown. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Mary has been a volunteer in the Archives at the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC) of Finlandia University and a long-time member of the Finnish Theme Committee. Mary joined the Finnish Council of America in 2012, working on the Folk Music Camps the three years it held the camp and serving as its Vice President since 2017.

Her main event task is to ride what is the arguably the world’s largest kick sled, a crowd favorite at Heikinpäivä, donning the traditional Hankooki Heikki robes and crown, and waving the copper scepter in the festival’s mid-winter parade.

Here is the schedule for the remaining events through Jan. 28:

UPDATED: Thursday, January 23
5:30 p.m. -- The Joy of Singing Finnish Favorites music workshop with Ralph and Jaana Tuttila, Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC). FREE!

Ralph and Jaana Tuttila of Minneapolis, Minnesota. (File photo courtesy Ralph and Jaana Tuttila)

Saturday, January 25

Note: Due to lack of a suitable site, the Heikinpäivä Polar Bear Dive has been cancelled.

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. -- Tori Market, FAHC and First United Methodist Church, Hancock.

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. -- Vipukelkka (Whipsled), kicksleds, and plenty of outdoor fun! Quincy Green.

Young children love riding the Vipukelkka (Whipsled). (Keweenaw Now file photo)

11 a.m. -- Parade, downtown Hancock. Line up at La Cantina restaurant at 10:30 a.m. Prizes.

Following parade -- Wife-carrying, kicksled races, whipsled, and more! Quincy Green. Prizes.

1 p.m. -- Book talk, "Kotimaa" with author Mark Munger, North Wind Books, Hancock.

UPDATED: 3 p.m. -- Reception for "Animal Life: Art from the Kalevala," Community Arts Center, Hancock. See our right-hand column for details.

7 p.m. -- Heikinpäivä iltamat (hors d’oeuvres, dance), Finnish American Heritage Center. Silent auction during dance. $15 per person.

Sunday, January 26

2 p.m. -- Finnish Hymn Sing and Concert, Zion Lutheran Church, Hancock. Open to the public.

Tuesday, January 28

6:45 p.m. -- Contra Dancing, Finnish American Heritage Center. Call (818) 606-0065 for info.

Editor's Note: For more details visit the Heikinpäivä Web site or their Facebook page.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Finlandia, Michigan Tech to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 20

Poster courtesy Michigan Tech University Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

HANCOCK, HOUGHTON -- Students, faculty and staffs at both Finlandia and Michigan Tech universities will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 20, with a variety of community service and other activities.

Finlandia students offer community service on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20, students and staff at Finlandia University take a break from classes and give their energy to the local community. To pay tribute to the man that changed the trajectory of civil rights in the United States, the annual Finlandia MLK Day of Service puts the normal university day on hold so that FinnU students, staff, alumni, and friends of the university can make their little bit of difference through small acts of kindness.

Providing manual labor such as shoveling snow at Finlandia and processing firewood at Little Brothers, volunteering for St.Vincent De Paul Thrift Store or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and reading to children in local schools are some of the activities that will give students the opportunity to involve themselves in the local community.

"Whether it’s socializing with the elderly, helping others prepare for the long winter months, or reading to small children, it’s wonderful to see our small Finlandia community make such an impact on our U.P. communities," said Finlandia Director of Residence Life Leann Fogle.

Fogle emphasized the impact that community service has on both the organization and student participants.

"We have had such a positive reaction from our students," said Fogle. "They come back from their service site excited, energized and happy they were able to help someone else. We have even had students interested in creating relationships with the sites so they can go back again."

In addition Finlandia will show the film When We Were Kings at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 20 in Wargelin 303.

Michigan Tech to observe MLK Day with school visits, Annual Banquet

Once again this year, Michigan Tech students will visit local elementary schools to read to students about the life and legacy of Dr. King. On Monday morning students will visit Barkell Elementary (Hancock) and T.R. Davis Elementary (Dollar Bay). That afternoon students will read to children at Houghton Elementary.

The 31st Annual MLK Banquet, hosted by Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion, will take place in the Memorial Union Ballroom Monday evening, Jan 20.

The evening's keynote speaker will be former Michigan Tech student LaShana Lewis. A systems engineer at MasterCard, Lewis has been working in the diversity space for more than 20 years. She is CEO of L.M. Lewis Consulting, a company that aims to make companies more diverse through assistance with recruitment, hiring and retention best practices.

Entertainment will be provided by a jazz band and singer David Brown.