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FHM’s Annual Year End Celebration of 2006

"Pikkujoulu" (Little Christmas) attendance doubled over last year’s celebration with almost 200 people in attendance at W.R. Branthoover Auditorium in Fairport Harding High School on December 9, 2006.

Little Christmas combines Finnish Independence Day ceremonies and annual meeting functions to provide entertainment, celebration, and business to those who participate.

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FHM member Elaine Lillback provided the featured program with a skit based upon her book, Finn Hollow, 1898-1910.  Narrator John Ollila guided the audience through the play, telling the story of Finnish immigrants who came to Fairport Harbor to work and raise a family.  The story told of a harsh dock manager (played by Niles Oinonen) who pushed dockworkers unmercifully and threatened them if they slacked off.  The workers (Erick Jylanki, Jim Visti, Bill Newberry, Matt Penttila, and Ken Myllykoski) toiled under those conditions until they had had enough. But the governor quashed the labor strike that ensued by ordering “strike troops,” assisted by the local constable, who arrested the striking workers.

Eventually, the company came to its senses and offered the men land upon which to build their own houses.
There was a condition, however: the land was a loan and could be taken back by the company.The company did exactly that, later, and all the Finnish houses had to be moved.  (All were relocated to the village of Fairport Harbor, where each is still occupied.)

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The men sent for their families in Finland and the community thrived. The skit depicted that happy time in the second part of the skit, which showed a Garfield School classroom with teacher (Dr. Dan Malkamaki) and children (Matias Malkamaki, Toma Malkamaki, Theo Malkamaki, Lila Malkamaki, Leah Hopson, Anna Hopson, Sierra Keay, Courtney Cutts, Entirerly Cutts, and Charlie Cutts).  They performed the traditional Tip Top song and other carols to the delight of the audience.

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Rev. Donald Tompkins gave the Finnish Independence Day message describing the turmoil, which marked Finnish history, finally giving way to 1917’s declaration of a sovereign state.

The new FHM officers were announced with Heikki Penttila, President; Pat Spivak, Vice President, and Niles Oinonen, treasurer as incumbents retaining their respective positions.  Laura Malkamaki was elected unopposed as secretary.
Local Finns The Rev. Dr. Bernhard Hillila and Lillian Luthanen Robinson were presented by FHM Webmaster Lasse Hiltunen and were subsequently elected to the 2006 class of the Hall of Fame.

The program concluded with traditional rice pudding and fruit sauce, open-faced sandwiches, nissu, coffee and other Finnish delights being served to the group in the Community Room of the Fairport Public Library. See pictures below.
 
Others in the program were Rev. Hannu Vepsalainen giving the invocation and closing prayer, The Finn Singers from Zion Lutheran Church, piano accompaniment by Robin Reeder, sound system by Doug Sabattis, Power Point presentation by Lasse Hiltunen, and of course Santa Claus, who sounded surprisingly like Don Cleary.

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Pictures © Lasse O. Hiltunen, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

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