FinnFest USA History

Festival Locations

Each annual festival uses a nationally based volunteer committee to develop the theme and organize the programming. It appoints curators who also work as volunteers to create specific pieces of the program. The board monitors and supervises this work. Local Finnish American organizations and individuals may assist with parts of the program. Each festival partners with local institutions, including, arts organizations, colleges and universities, businesses, civic organizations, and the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Festivals may partner with on-going community festivals and become part of local theatrical, music, art, literature, historical exhibitions, and lecture series.

The festival programming will vary from year to year, depending on the festival site resources and annual themes. Festivals sites have included parks, college campuses, and conference centers. In 2009 and again in 2016, FinnFest USA built its festival around a week long travel opportunity, the first year to Alaska, and second on the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 2015, FinnFest USA partnered with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, creating a festival that honored the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius. Kleinhans Music Hall, the Eliel and Eero Saarinen designed music hall, provided the major festival venues.

During its over 30-year history, festivals have been defined most often as summer festivals. In recent years, however, FinnFest USA has held festivals in the fall and winter months, enabling the festival to work more efficiently with weather and local resource opportunities.

Current to the beginning

2017 - Minneapolis MN

2016 - St Lawrence Seaway Cruise

2015 - Buffalo NY

2014 - Minneapolis MN

2013 - Houghton & Hancock MI

2012 - Tucson AZ

2011 - San Diego CA

2010 - FinnGrandFest III - Sault Ste Marie ON

2009 - Alaska Cruise

2008 - Duluth MN

2007 - Ashtabula OH

2006 - Naselle WA & Astoria OR

2005 - FinnGrandFest II - Marquette MI

2004 - Lake Worth FL

2002 - Minneapolis MN

2001 - Philadelphia PA

2000 - FinnGrandFest I - Toronto ON

1999 - Seattle WA

1998 - Gorham ME

1997 - Minot ND

1996 - Marquette MI

1995 - Portland OR

1994 - DeKalb IL

1993 - Thousand Oaks CA

1992 - Duluth MN

1991 - Lake Worth FL

1990 - Hancock MI

1989 - Seattle WA

1988 - Newark DE

1987 - Livonia MI

1986 - Berkeley CA

1985 - Hancock MI

1984 - Fitchburg MA

1983 - Minneapolis MN