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      Calumet celebrates its Finnish heritage

      A sea of blue and white poured through the streets of Calumet Saturday as the city came together to celebrate their Finnish heritage.

      For years, Calumet's Heritage Day has been a time for the community to come together and honor various ethnic groups from the Copper Country.

      "Over the years we've been doing it, we've finally worked our way to the Finns, which, of course, is predominant in the Copper Country," said Tom Tikkanen, Executive Director of Main Street Calumet, who organizes the event.

      Tom Tikkanen's brother, Oren Tikkanen, performed Saturday with his band, not only to entertain the crowd, but also to honor their family's heritage.

      "I love playing old time ethnic music, and for the past 40 years or so I've been involved in Finnish music, and it's just become part of my life," said Oren Tikkanen.

      The Tikkanens hope that having this kind of celebration will preserve the Copper Country's Finnish culture for younger generations, for kids, like 12-year-old William Kotajarvi.

      "I've been learning from my uncles, and all of them and I love to learn how to speak Finnish," said Kotajarvi. "Our last name, Kotajarvi, means 'hut on a lake.'"

      Republican State Representative Matt Huuki also made an appearance Saturday. Huuki spent time reminiscing with community members about their shared ancestry.

      "It does bring me back, and it's great to have that heritage and be able to come back and feel back at home," said Huuki.

      Next year, in place of Heritage Day, the city will put on a centennial anniversary of the Great Strike of 1913.