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      Finnish festival ramps up in Hancock

      As Heikinpaiva approaches, the Finnish Theme Committee is wasting no time making preparations.

      The big Heikinpaiva parade is scheduled for Saturday morning at 11 a.m. There will be a tori (market) with baked goods for people to buy at the Finnish American Heritage Center.

      The Finnish Theme Committee has begun baking the food for the event. On Monday afternoon they started baking piirakkaa, a rice filled pastry, for the tori.

      Debbie Kurtti, a member of the committee, says being a part of the Heikinpaiva celebration is fun for everyone, even if you are not Finnish.

      "It's really important to all of us to keep the Finnish heritage going, and it kind of brings to light all the different crafts, and foods, and dances that the Finns have held close to their hearts for so many years," said Kurtti.

      Heikinpaiva continued Monday night with a Kantele class and Nisu-making class. There will be a Heikki Lunta lecture and wine tasting Thursday, and the FinnFest Fling Dance Friday evening.