We are about a quarter into the Finland 100 Centennial Year. Sisu has had the pleasure of traveling from Minnesota through Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to California, meeting wonderful people and attending fabulous events on the way.
But wait, there’s more! The journey continues. There’s so much more to see and do. Next stops are San Francisco, CA, Portland, OR and Seattle, WA before Sisu heads back to the Upper Midwest for the glorious summer months. Check out the full calendar on Traveling Sauna website, and come see Sisu and celebrate Finland 100 with us.
As in all story telling, you want to keep the audience in suspense. To quote Jean-Luc Godard, a French-Swiss movie director: “All stories have a beginning, middle part, and end. But, they don’t necessarily have to be in this order”. So, when we started the blog we kind of just jumped in, and promised to circle back at some point to let you know how this all began and why the Traveling Sauna. How about today?
Hold on! A HOT new video has just been released. DUDESONS CHECKING OUT THE TRAVELING SAUNA!
Sorry, we had to put this in ALL CAPS because this video is so hot that even the thermometer in Sisu stopped registering at 260 F. This is not how to take a sauna, folks! On the other hand, Jukka Dudeson seemed to be very nostalgic and true about how to sauna. Just watch!
Now, let's get back to the original story.
When we all started to discuss 2017, and plan for our activities and celebrations, a common theme of sharing information about all the events across the US and through out the year soon emerged. How could we best promote our events? How could we best show that we Finns, Finnish Americans and Friends of Finland are celebrating from January 1 to December 31?
“Sauna” is the only Finnish word in the English lexicon. We had it! Embassy is quickly on-board, pledging their support.
Fast forward to 2016 when project “Traveling Sauna” is kicked off and put on the drawing board at Finnleo in Cokato, MN.
It was amazing to participate in the build process. Design and specifications, selection of materials, start of construction, finish of construction. Sounds very simple but, trust the Sauna Ambassadors, a lot of hard work and hours were put into the design and build to make sure Sisu will make it through the 12,000 miles and four seasons. Thank you, Team Finnleo!
Hey! One final detail. What color? Blue and white? Black? Wood tones? We even organized a Facebook vote on the color. So difficult! In the end, we knew we had it. The sauna had to be red with white trim. The traditional color of the grandma's house, and almost every house in the old country way back when. Whew!
On a crisp winter’s day in January, Sisu emerges from the cozy contains of the Finnleo factory. The entire Finnleo staff is out to cheer with residents from Cokato.
We take Sisu for a quick spin. First stop: The oldest sauna in the United States, at the Temperance Corner in Cokato. America’s oldest and youngest sauna, together!
After visiting the Barberg-Selvälä-Salmonson Sauna, what else will we discover once we start touring the country?
In the tradition of fine Finnish carpentry, couple of final details are added to Finnish things off: First, a Sauna sign, donated by Will Ojanen.
Then, a plaque from the North American Sauna Society.
The kick-off of the Centennial Activities in the U.S. was in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 12-14. The day was, if possible, even crispier than the day when we drove Sisu out from the factory.
Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi announced the name for the Traveling Sauna - "Sisu”. She also lit the first fire in the sauna stove, and poured the first water on the rocks. All us Minnesotans could feel the warmth of the “löyly”.
During the week end, there were several other activities, such as a business breakfast organized by the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Minnesota, cultural activities organized by FinnSource, and a luncheon where Ambassador Kauppi spoke, organized by Global Minnesota. To top things off, the Minnesota Orchestra had arranged an entire week end of Finnish music, conducted by Osmo Vänskä.
Please click here to watch a video of an interview with Ambassador Kauppi, Osmo Vänskä and Finnleo CEO Keith Raisanen.
Sisu’s full schedule and up-to-date calendar, please click here.
Finland Centennial Calendar in the US, please click here.
Like reading about Sisu’s travels? Please help us bring Sisu to a location near you. Get a souvenir from our web store, or feel free to make a donation.