Lue tämä postaus suomeksi täältä (read this post in Finnish here).

We are very excited about hosting the 51st Finnish Festival
in Altona in a few days! The Finnish Society of Melbourne team has geared up for the event e.g. by preparing baked goods for sale and getting the Finnish Hall ready with a cleaning bee. The exterior cladding of the sauna is also now done and we will have the sauna at lock-up by Easter. Finnish Festival was also featured in the local Star Weekly newspaper recently.

The Finnish Festival program can be found here (detailed program will be for sale during Easter for $5). The Festival kicks off with an opening ceremony on Friday 14th April at 10 am (after festival church service at 8 am). There are lots of fun events displaying Finnish sports and culture so come along to follow and cheer the competitors (some events are ticketed so please check the program linked above)!

One of the highlights is the Dinner Dance on Saturday evening 15th April. The music is provided by a live band “Twisted Tango” and they will take the festival guests on a musical journey from Elvis to classic tango. To celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence there will also be a food surprise. Finnish chef Jenni Tuominen, who has recently graduated from a top chef school in France (pictured below on the right), comes from Paris to Australia especially for this event and will prepare an 8-course dinner of ‘sapas’ (Finnish style tapas). Tickets are $45 ($40 concession for pensioners and students) and include sapas dinner with a glass of wine and a night of fun. Tickets can still be purchased in advance online (TryBooking) or from the Finnish Hall from Kimmo/ at the door.

Logo of the Australasian Federation of Finnish Societies and Clubs Inc.

At the heart of the Finnish Festival are the sports and culture competitions, each participant representing one of the Australian Finnish clubs. In culture, there are nine events, including folk dancing, singing, humour and drawing competition for kids. Sports events include baseball, cross-country running, mölkky (Finnish throwing game) and volley ball.

Registration for the Festival events has closed apart from the kids’ drawing competition that is still open with the theme “Suomi 100 – Together”. Drawing size is A4 with two age categories: children 8 years and under & children 12 years and under. Please write your name, age, address and the name of your club behind your drawing and send it to the Finnish Hall or bring your drawing with you to the Finnish Festival on Friday the 14th April at the latest. You can search for inspiration from the Suomi 100 website. Winners will be chosen and announced on Sunday the 16th April at the closing ceremony of the Festival by Ambassador Lars Bäckström and Mrs Bäckström from the Embassy of Finland in Canberra.

There are also workshops on folk dancing, children’s baseball and mölkky that everyone can join in and try these traditional Finnish events (no cost, no pre-registration needed). We will receive special Finnish guests as the folk dancing group Hilipakka (pictured below) will join us from Siilinjärvi (eastern Finland). In addition to dancing workshops, Hilipakka will perform to the Festival guests on Easter Friday at 5pm (tickets $10). They have visited Australia also before and are very excited about coming here again!

The Finnish Festival needs volunteers to make this event a success. Thus, if you are still interested in lending a pair of hands in the kitchen, competition timekeeping or elsewhere, please let our festival secretary Anneli know!