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Fun for Finns and friends

The Finnish-Canadian Grand Festival is in full swing in Sudbury this weekend. Finn Fun 2013, as organizers call it, is an opportunity for the entire community to enjoy a snippet of Finnish culture.
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Miia Piironen and Félype Sauve won the Wife Carrying Contest at Finn Fun 2013. Their prize is a trip for two to Iceland. The race was only a part of the 2013 cultural festival. Photo by Jenny Jelen.

The Finnish-Canadian Grand Festival is in full swing in Sudbury this weekend. 

Finn Fun 2013, as organizers call it, is an opportunity for the entire community to enjoy a snippet of Finnish culture. 

“It's about fun events for Finns and friends,” said Tuire Walsh, chair of the 74th annual festival. “We want people to come out to these events.” The festival officially started last Thursday, and continues until Sunday. There has been music, games, food and fun at various locations in the city. One of the highlights was the Wife Carrying Contest — a fun obstacle course where one team member carried the other in a speedy way. The winners, Félype Sauve and Miia Piironen, won a trip for two to Iceland. With Piironen on his back, Sauve leaped over hay bales and through a pond in 42 seconds.

“We're trying to keep composed,” Sauve said with a grin after winning the race. He said he and Piironen had practised different carrying methods and techniques, and also did quite a bit of cardio training, to get ready for the challenge. 

Summer festivals with quirky games and challenges like this are a big part of Finnish culture, Walsh said. It's a long standing tradition for Finnish folks to meet and celebrate with each other during the warm months. 

Nelma Sillanpaa was a performer at the very first Grand Festival in Sudbury when it began, and still came out this year. At 95 years old, she gave an opening address at Tom Davies Square when the festival began this year. 

Sillanpaa is a living example of the culture enjoying the festival atmosphere. 

Events continue throughout the weekend. A series of concerts are still coming up, for anyone who wants to hear some “quality” music inspired by the Finnish.

For more information, and a complete schedule of events, visit www.finnfun2013.ca.



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