Monday, October 23, 2017

Tennessee, South Carolina, and heading further South

Kicking off October, Sisu was invited to visit the four campuses of the Walters State Community College during their International Festival. The campuses are in eastern Tennessee, in the towns of Tazewell, Greeneville, Morristown, and Sevierville. This is destination country, folks. History, scenic towns, parks and nature. Dollywood, Appalachian Mountains, President Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett. Go, do you research, and make plans to visit. You have Sisu’s recommendation!

First up was a visit to the Claiborne County campus in Tazewell. Sisu parked in front of the main entrance and was visited by students and staff during breaks. Good conversations, nice atmosphere, a very inviting visit, and Sisu was so happy to be there. Drive from Morristown was quite scenic, too!

Next, Greeneville campus. Again, good times with visiting students and staff. During lunch hour, however, Sisu was up to a big surprise. Campus contact, Marci Nimick, had lined up one of her friends to play guitar and she proceeded to sing bluegrass tunes for us. Unfortunately, the audio didn’t work too well on the video Sisu posted on Facebook. But, if you see Marci listed on any of the local venues, you will want to go check her out! What a treat!

In Morristown and Sevierville, Sisu was warmed up to provide actual sauna. A number of students used the opportunity, even more stopped by to check out what was going on. Sisu likes to visit schools and campuses! Students are not afraid at all to come and chat. Sisu likes chatting with people!

Thank you, Walters State Community College; Eileen Bowers, Paul Lubotina, Marlin Curnutt, Marci Nimick, Erika Stevens, for inviting Sisu to participate in your festival!

From Tennessee, Sisu headed east to Spartanburg, S.C. A most scenic drive which should be on everyone’s bucket list. Even the rest stops on the route are worth mentioning!

Spartanburg International Festival is an annual festival celebrating world nations. For our readers in Minnesota, very similar to the Festival of Nations in St. Paul, MN. Each nation has a booth to display the country, culture and traditions, each nation can participate in the food court, and there’s a stage for performances. Each year, one nation is featured as “the Honored Nation”.

Spartanburg area Finnish Club had negotiated the “Honored Nation” status for Finland this year. What an achievement and an honor! As a result, Finland exhibit was placed at the entrance. Visitors arriving to the festival walked past a statue dressed as Santa, past six (instead of just one) exhibit booths, and Sisu proudly displayed in the center!

When the gates were opened and people started pouring in, the Finland exhibit had a steady stream of visitors. At times, there were lines to the free coffee and pulla (for the record: Chief Sauna Ambassador Risto couldn’t resist the temptation and weaseled a couple of extra pullas during the day…), the exhibits and to check out Sisu. Finland cafe in the food court appeared to be a success, too. Mustikkarahkapiirakka was sold out within the first couple of hours.

Inka Ginther, Marko Huttunen, et. al. at the Finnish Club, you folks have a good thing going. Keep up the good work!

A special thanks to Honorary Consul Todd Wiebush for coming from about an hour-and-a-half away to visit the festival and Finland exhibit.

A very special thank you to the City of Spartanburg / Galia Rodriguez for the great festival and a T-shirt!

From Spartanburg, Sisu hiked over to Atlanta, GA, one of the 12 Finland USA Signature event locations. Organized by the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Southwest, there were business roundtables on Friday, October 13, with Consul General Manu Virtamo attending.

Then, on Saturday, at Wild Heaven Brewery’s cozy patio, Sisu had a great afternoon in 80 degree weather, filled with 40 sauna enthusiasts for the entire afternoon. Approximately 75 people heard Consul General Manu Virtamo’s fantastic speech.

Thank you to Linnea Porter and Minna LeVine as well as Angela Riley and the whole Wild Heaven Brewery crew for hosting us for such a great event.

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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New York, finally! Not forgetting MetsaGroup or Nokian Tyres!

Sorry for the long break in the blog postings, dear readers and countrymen. What on earth happened? Why can’t we get regular updates?

Well, as it happened, Traveling Sauna co-pilots had a very important appointment at FinnFest USA in September.

While Sisu couldn't be there, Jouko and Risto met with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, and Mrs. Jenni Haukio. The meeting went well, we can report. There was mutual excitement over the Centennial, and President Niinistö and Mrs. Haukio, of course, received some nice souvenirs to take back home.

Jouko, Mrs. Haukio, President Niinistö, Risto. But, who is who?
By the way, if you are looking to get your own Centennial souvenir/collectible, make sure you check out the Traveling Sauna Shop sooner than later. Stock on some of the items is getting dangerously low.

Now, let’s travel back in time to early September, and to New York. The Bleecker Street Street Fair was a blast! So many people, entertainment, good food, you name it!

Press was there, too:
Huffington Post
YLE Svenska

Next day, Art & Sauna in Brooklyn. Another event where it is not worth us to try and describe what happened, when the press says it so much better! Here's a link to the article in New Yorker.

Thank you, NYC Finns, Annemarie Hjorth, Eero Kilpi, Jackie & Paula!

After New York, Sisu visited the North American headquarters of MetsaGroup in Norwalk, CT. The sales team was in town and so, this was the perfect time to visit!

During lunch, Metsa employees took a break to visit Sisu. Rarely have we had so many people in the sauna at the same time! Maybe once in Dallas, TX? Nice T-shirts, too!

Thank you Metsa for your sponsorship!

After Metsa, Sisu hiked over to Tennessee, to another sponsor event - the new Nokian Tyres US factory groundbreaking. The new factory is a $360 million investment in the town of Dayton, TN to create 400 jobs and start manufacturing world’s best, sustainably manufactured tires in the US.

The entire town was there with the Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam, Nokian Tyres leadership, Dayton, TN city officials, Dayton Fire Chief, Dayton Police Chief, State of Tennessee representatives, and, of course, Sisu with Chief Sauna Ambassador Jouko. For more information, please visit Nokian Tyres website

Just one request from Sisu: Sure there will be a sauna at the new digs in Dayton?

Thank you Nokian Tyres for your sponsorship!

Next up, more Tennessee and a hop over to South Carolina. Stay tuned!

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? You can help us bring Sisu to a location near you. Get a souvenir from our web store, or feel free to make a donation.