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HomeUncategorized2023 Tori Finnish Marketplace and Music Fest: A Child’s Eye View

2023 Tori Finnish Marketplace and Music Fest: A Child’s Eye View

The Finland, MN Historical Society has celebrated Midsummer, in June, for many years. Initially, it was cele­brated with a May Pole, some music, and a few vendors. In the late 1990s, Paul Deaner started a free music festi­val, bringing musicians from near and far to Finland. In 2006, the historical society decided to combine the music festival and the Midsummer festiv­ities, move the event to August, and rename it the Tori Music Festival.

The word “Tori” is Finnish for “open marketplace”, and the festi­val has grown to include local art­ists, merchants, and traditional craft demonstrations such as weaving. Vendors sell a variety of items, from pottery to plants to fairy house craft kits.

This year, I had the privilege of vis­iting the Tori Finnish Marketplace and Music Fest with Felicity (age 8) and Alice (age 6). The first thing that caught the girls’ attention was a com­munity Ryijy-making booth. A Ryijy is a type of Finnish carpet hanging, and is made of hundreds upon hun­dreds of knots tied onto a mesh back­ing. Felicity and Alice enjoyed pick­ing out colorful strips of cloth to add to the Ryijy.

The next thing that caught their at­tention was North Woods Pottery’s booth, which displayed many exam­ples of beautiful, handcrafted pot­tery – such as vases, cups, bowls, and teapots. Felicity admired the artistic quality of the pottery, and the girls re­membered the unspoken rule of “look with your eyes, not with your hands.”

The highlight of the festival for them, though, was Duluth Goat Yoga. Goat yoga is a “gentle, all-abilities yoga class with cute little goats,” according to https://www.duluthgoatyoga.com/.  Felicity and Alice enjoyed spending some time holding little goats, and Felicity even let a little goat climb on her back. One little goat fell asleep in Felicity’s lap, and after she held it, she handed the still-sleepy goat to Alice.

Both Felicity and Alice are mem­bers of American Heritage Girls Troop MN2931, so we circled back to a booth  hosted by troop members. This “Imagination Station” area at the festival had lots of fun crafts. All the crafts were tied to Finnish culture – making a paper plate bear (the bear is the national animal of Finland), Northern Lights watercolors, handprint swans (Finland’s national bird), Sisu mobiles (Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, grit, or bravery), Finnish himmeli (a Finnish Christmas ornament), miniature rug weaving, tree planting, and fishing for prizes (a traditional Finnish birthday activity). Troop member Madelynn Holbeck played a few songs on piano, and another troop member, Hilda Krekelberg, played tin whistle, entertaining passersby with fun folk tunes.

The Tori Finnish Marketplace and Music Fest isn’t just for children. Adults could be seen milling about, visiting friends and participating in activities such as an essential oils workshop presented by Christina Schroeder from Purple Lotus, or entering the silent auction and raffle. All day long visitors could enjoy music played from the stage, with an end of the day performance by Charlie Parr.

Be sure to watch for next year’s event on the Finland Minnesota Historical Society’s website under “Calendar of Events.” Thanks, Felicity and Alice for a refreshing view of the Tori, and to all those who behind the scenes made this a memorable event.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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