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      FinnFest leaves behind positive effects

      It??s been just over three months since the biggest international Finnish festival came to the Copper Country.

      What felt like a lot of buildup for a four-day festival turned out to be one of the biggest FinnFests in history.

      FinnFest USA 2013 board members said they conservatively estimate about 8,000 people attended with an unknown amount of money exchanged through local hands.

      The cities, now emptied of its droves of Finnish-American visitors, are beginning to feel the after-effects.

      ??They??re enthusiastic about their Finnish-American identity and really enthusiastic that they came to a region of the country where you see it not only put out for the festival, but it??s there all the time,?? said FinnFest USA 2013 chair, Jim Kurtti.

      In addition to the many Finnish musical acts that continue to perform in the Copper Country, next week, Finlandia University is starting enrichment classes with additional Finnish dance classes, kantele classes, and Finnish language lessons.

      The business forum held during FinnFest brought forth a new Finnish American Chamber of Commerce that will hold its first meeting Thursday.

      ??This is an opportunity to create a climate that??s conducive to getting Finnish companies to invest in this area and perhaps have companies from this area, small businesses, also invest in Finland,?? Kurtti said. ??In other words: to encourage trade.??

      The festival brought international visibility to the area--even being featured twice on Finnish national news.

      The FinnFest board says they are continuing to receive accolades from people all over the globe who came to the Keweenaw.

      ??FinnFest really was a success, and we??re really just so fortunate that everything worked out,?? Kurtti said. ??We had a FinnFest that people are going to remember for a long time.??