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      Festival could bring big business to Copper Country

      The FinnFest USA 2013 planning committee held a meeting Thursday morning in Houghton to discuss to economic impact that FinnFest will have on the area.

      FinnFest will be in the Houghton-Hancock area June 19 to June 23. The FinnFest planning committee met with business owners on Thursday morning to explain the economic benefits FinnFest will have for their companies.

      Board member Kevin Manninen says it will also have a residual economic impact for tourism to the area after the festival is over. He says the committee is hoping for about 10,000 people to be in the area for the festival.

      "In Marquette in 2005, the estimates were that it brought anywhere between $10 and $12 million into the community, so we're certainly looking at those kinds of numbers," said Manninen. "The more people, certainly the higher the number. These people are going to be staying here, they're going to be eating here, they're going to be spending time here, and hopefully we're getting them to come into the businesses and seeing everything the area has to offer."

      Manninen said that although FinnFest can have a huge positive impact on the Copper Country, there are some challenges the board is facing in planning as well. He added that the community plays a big role in helping relieve these challenges.

      "A big challenge we're going to be facing is housing," Manninen explained. "To bring that many people into the area, there's not that many hotel and motel bedrooms, so we have to look at all possibilities. The second challenge for everyone is going to be fundraising. We need to raise money to put on all these events."

      For more information about FinnFest, check out the festival's Facebook page here.