Throwing boots, carrying wives among events
BY JEFF BAHR
If the idea of a wife-carrying contest isn't fun enough, just consider the prize,
The winning couple at the Finn Fest each year receives the wife's weight in beer. It is hoped that the winning couple shares some of the proceeds with the other competitors.
The wife-carrying contest is just one of the unusual events at the Frederick festival, which runs Friday through Sunday. New this year is a cellphone throwing contest, which will be Friday night.
Cellphones aren't the only things people in Frederick will be throwing. A boot toss is part of Saturday afternoon's Finnish competitions.
At Saturday morning's pancake breakfast, people have a choice of Finnish or American-style pancakes. Finnish pancakes, or Fannukakku, are oven-baked and topped with berries and whipped cream. Later in the morning, visitors may take in a bake sale and Finn bread tasting.
On Friday night, celebrants will burn up the river. The Juhannuskokko, or Fire on the Water, begins at 9 p.m. at Simmons Park. According to a news release, the fire makes an impressive reflection on the Maple River. Bonfires, still seen throughout the Finnish countryside on Midsummer's Eve, were originally burned to keep away witches or evil spirits, according to a news release.
It will be followed by another scenic activity - fireworks.
The Finn Fest began in 2008, and there is no finish in site. This weekend's event will be the fifth.
Every June, the people of Frederick extend a Tervetuloa, or welcome, to visitors. The 2012 Finn Fest will be bigger than normal because it incorporates an all-school reunion.
Friday's schedule includes a community supper at 6 p.m. and the Miss Finn contest and talent contest at 7 p.m.
The weekend's musical highlight will be the return of Kaivama, a Finnish folk duo from the Twin Cities. It will be a return to Frederick for the pair, who played their first gig at the 2010 Finn Fest.
Violinist Sara Pajunen is a native of Hibbing, Minn. Multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Rundman is from Ishpeming, Mich. Both areas are famous for open-pit iron ore mines. According to publicity material, the band's name reflects this spirit of excavation. 'Kaivama' is a Finnish word stemming from kaivaa: to delve or dig.
Kaivama's website says, Alternately ancient and modern Finnish influences reveal themselves in Kaivama's sound: danceable rhythms, joyous melodies, icy whispers, sleek construction, primal drones and poppy hooks all interplay as Pajunen and Rundman explore the music of their ancestors.
Kaivama will perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday in Frederick's Simmons Park, which is next to the Maple River.
The parade is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
The wife-carrying contest, or Eukonkanto, begins about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Those who pay the $30 entry fee also receive T-shirts. The competition is an import from the wife-carrying world championships every year in Sonkajrvi, Finland. South Dakota Public Broadcasting featured Finn Fest on its Dakota Digest program last year, and just recently won an award for the news story.
Wife-carrying follows the boot-throwing contest, or Saappaanheitto, which begins at 3 p.m.