Why FinnFest USA?
FinnFest USA, a nationally-based 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, organizes an annual festival to celebrate Finland, Finnish America, and Finnish culture. FinnFest USA maintains the trademark for this festival and its name.
Since its founding in 1983, FinnFest USA has provided “Finnish Americans and their progeny an opportunity to meet one another and to broaden and deepen their knowledge of Finland and Finnish American history and culture.” (Articles of Incorporation, 1983) Now, in the 21st century, Finnish Americans have multi-cultural families and friendships, and progeny has come to mean "America."
FinnFest USA creates pop-up towns, moving each year to a different American region and community. Sites may be chosen for their connections to Finnish America’s historic communities. Sites may also be chosen for their ability to support the year’s theme and programming. Sites always are chosen with the goal of creating a visible and contemporary dialogue both between America and one of its small diaspora groups and between America and Finland.
FinnFest USA operates independently from any political or religious groups. The Board of Directors of FinnFest USA selects festival sites and directs the festivals. The national office is maintained by the President, and is currently located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Here's What Others Have to Say About FinnFest USA
FinnFest is a unique opportunity for those who have roots in Finland, those who were born in Finland, and those whose hearts and minds have discovered Finland to come together and experience Finnish culture in a wide variety of ways. Music, dance, lectures, movies, food — these are just a few of the ways that FinnFest explores the Finnish and Finnish-American experience. The sense of togetherness and camaraderie is palpable. As a participant in the 2016 FinnFest cruise to New England, I know I speak for others in saying that I didn't want it to end. If you're curious about your Finnish roots, or otherwise are fascinated with Finland, come join us for all things Finnish!
~ Daniel Karvonen, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
FinnFest USA offers the unique opportunity for me to engage with people both as an academic folklorist and as a Finnish American. I connect with professional colleagues through the conference aspects of the festival, with traditional artists and performers through demonstrations and performances, and with an ever-increasing group of family and friends over coffee and pulla or over a rollicking schottische. FinnFest USA engages me as a professional and more importantly as a human.
~ Hilary-Joy Virtanen, Ph.D.