Finnish-American Heikinpäivä Festival returns to Houghton County after 2-year hiatus

The Finnish-American festival Heikinpäivä is back in Houghton County after two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 8:14 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 12:24 PM EST
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - After two years, the Finnish-American festival Heikinpäivä is returning to Houghton County this year.

Beginning in 1999, the last festival was in 2020 just before the major spread of the pandemic, preventing future festivals.

“We have wrestled whether we should have it or not each year, and we thought it was time we could do it again,” said City of Hancock Finnish Theme Committee Chairman Jim Kurtti. “And we have gotten a lot of response from people who like to attend that really wished that we would, so here we are.”

Starting this week, the festival will run into February and offers a wide variety of activities including Finnish and Nordic-themed movies, as well as dancing and craft classes.

This leads up to the festival’s largest events in Hancock on Jan. 28.

On that Saturday, Quincy Street and Finlandia University’s campus will be full of outdoor activities, food, and a parade at 11 a.m. There will also be a set of tori markets at the Finnish American Heritage Center and the First United Methodist Church.

However, a notable event, the Polar Bear Dive, is not expected to return this year.

“It’s a lot of work, it’s, you know, wet and sloppy,” continued Kurtti. “And to find the right spot, and to find the right indoor places for changing and staying warm, we just couldn’t pull it off this year. But if someone can come through for us, we’d be happy to still pull it into the festival.”

Hymn singing will also not be present this year, but Kurtti said that they’re keeping well to their traditional schedule with all other events.

“It’s really an opportunity for people to express this culture and this heritage that we have and appreciate,” added Kurtti. “And to celebrate winter. We celebrate winter rather than mumble about it.”

For more information, including the schedule of events and activities, check out the event’s page by clicking here.

To register for classes and workshops, email