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A fun, Finntastic family event

File photo Lee Anderson showed off his horseless carriage at last year's festival. Anderson spent more than 30 years acquiring parts for the machine. The body of the carriage is from 1903.1 / 4
The Kingery Family band will perform bluegrass gospel on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. They are just one of many great musical and storytelling acts planned as a part of the Finn Creek Festival. Submitted photo2 / 4
New York Mills-based singer/songwriter, Elisa Korenne, will perform on Saturday at 11 a.m. Submitted photo3 / 4
File photo Dick Lausten, standing on thresher, and his grandson George ran their Aultman and Taylor hay thresher during the Finn Creek Folk Festival last summer.4 / 4

'Finn-ish' off a month of fun local events with a visit to the Finn Creek Museum's Summer Folk Festival.

Taking place Saturday and Sunday, this celebration of local heritage will offer something for everyone - live music and other entertainment, 'living history'-style demonstrations, a tractor pull, a petting barn, food and beverages, craft vendors and more.

"It's a step back in time," described Dave Witikko, president of the Finn Creek Board of Directors. "We work hard to present this weekend for people to enjoy."

Witikko said a dedicated group of volunteers works year-round to maintain the Finn Creek Open Air Museum, where the festival is held. The museum and grounds are used year-round for family reunions, wedding receptions and other get-togethers, but the Summer Folk Festival "is the big event for us," said Witikko. It takes the work of about 50-60 volunteers to pull it off.

The mission of Finn Creek's volunteers is to preserve the heritage and artifacts of the area's early settlers. There's an old-fashioned sawmill on the property, as well as a church, country schoolhouse, general store and blacksmith shop. All the buildings will be open during the festival, with tours, antique displays and historical demonstrations on site throughout the weekend.

Demonstrations will include log sawing, oat threshing, weaving, small gas engines, blacksmithing and more.

"We want to be able to show people that 'this is the way it was done,'" said Witikko. "It'll be a festive couple of days."

New this year will be a raffle for a handcrafted commemorative knife, specially made for the event by Gabe Pipo.

Scheduled performers include The Kingery Family, Kip Peltoniemi, Lauri Saukko, aChord, Elisa Korenne and others.

Kip Peltoniemi, an old-time button accordion player, hails from the famous 'Finnish Triangle,' located "in the center of the eastern section of the western part of the southern portion of northern Minnesota," according to information from Finn Creek.

Peltoniemi's one-man show features unusual accordion instrumentals, humorous songs, dubious folklore, tall tales and outright lies. He has taught at the Kaustinen Folk Music Institute and the Sibelius Academy, and in 2001 he recorded an album, "Minnesota Tango." He will perform at the festival at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Larry 'Lauri' Saukko, a former dean of Concordia's Finnish Language Village, will share some of his favorite music, jokes, Finnish puns and stories at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, at 11 a.m., New York Mills-based singer/songwriter, Elisa Korenne, will perform. Her voice has been described by Pulse Weekly as "rich" and "amazingly addictive," while her songwriting has won numerous accolades. She has more than a decade of experience performing and writing indie rock, blues and folk. She performs regularly at venues across the northeastern U.S.

Shortly after Korenne's peformance, at 12:30 p.m., The Kingery Family of Grove City, Minn., will take center stage, performing their special blend of bluegrass gospel. The family band - Mike, Chris, Anna, Michelle, Rebekah, Elizabeth, Abigail, David, Joshua and Derek, Rachel and Christine Tiemann - released its first CD in 2009 and quickly followed that with another a year later. Their vision is to help bring many souls to God through their music.

The gospel music will continue on Sunday with a performance at 11 a.m. by the Southern Gospel quartet, aChord. aChord will perform a ministry of song and spoken word titled, "Celebration of Music." The group's goal is to bring the word of God to audiences through inspirational prose, poetry and music.

For more information about the festival, including a full schedule, visit

The Finn Creek Open Air Museum is located three miles east of New York Mills on U.S. Hwy. 10 to State Hwy. 106, south 2.5 miles, then one-half mile west on 340th Street. Signs will be posted.



7:30 a.m. - French toast, pancake and sausage breakfast.

9 a.m. - The start of all day crafts and eats, including BBQ, hot dogs, pie, ice cream, Finnish specialties, beverages and more.

9 a.m. - Entertainment by NY Mills singer/songwriter Elisa Korenne.

9:30 a.m. - Petting zoo opens, as do tours of museum buildings, horse-drawn wagon rides, concessions and shops. Families may also learn Finnish at the schoolhouse.

10 a.m. - Finnish Heritage Conversation Hour at the schoolhouse.

10 a.m. - Demonstrations start.

10:30 a.m. - Reading of prize-winning student essays.

11 a.m. - Entertainment by Elisa Korenne.

Noon - Finnish American pasty lunch.

12:30 p.m. - Bluegrass gospel entertainment by the Kingery Family.

1:30 p.m. - Crafts, more demonstrations, antiques displays and other events.

2 p.m. - Children's tractor pull (ages 3 to 9).

2:30 p.m. - Entertainment by Bemidji, Minn. artist Larry Saukko, followed by performances of Finnish and Finnish American music.


8:30 a.m. - Bakery breakfast.

9 a.m. - Sing-along in the chapel, with English and Finnish hymns.

10 a.m. - Church service at the chapel.

11 a.m. - Petting zoo opens, as do tours of museum buildings, horse-drawn wagon rides, concessions and shops. Crafts and demonstrations also begin. Gospel music entertainment provided by All in One...aChord.

12:15 p.m. - Pork dinner.

12:30 p.m. - Antiques tractor parade.

1 p.m. - Antique tractor pull. Entertainment by singer/songwriter Kip Peltoniemi of St. Paul, Minn., who performs again at 3 p.m.

1:30 p.m. - Finnish Heritage Conversation Hour at the schoolhouse.

2 p.m. - Humor by JoAnn Bowman, a.k.a. "Lena," of Fergus Falls, Minn.

4 p.m. - Prize drawings. Concessions will remain available.