MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Friday of Art Week the Finnish Midsummer Celebration “Friendship Across Waters” was hosted at Ellwood A Mattson Lower Harbor Park. This event celebrates the 25th year of being a sister city with Kajaani, Finland. Midsummer is an important national holiday in Finland celebrating the summer solstice, usually spent with family and friends. The Marquette Sister Cities Partnership, City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center, and the Marquette Symphony Orchestra partnered to bring Midsummer to the people of Marquette. A stage was set up in the park for artist to perform live music. Bonfires were lit in traditional Finnish fashion.

“Starting at 7:00, there is a Finnish folk trio that’s going to be performing for about half an hour,” said Tristan Luoma, board member for Marquette Sister Cities Partnership and Marquette Symphony Orchestra. “Followed by that, the Marquette Area Sister Cities Partnership is going to share a few words just kind of summing up where we’ve been, the future of our friendship with Kajaani and just highlights from the past 25 years. And then about 8:00, we’ll be lighting bonfires along the bulkhead in traditional Finnish fashion. And then, also having the Marquette Symphony Orchestra Summer Strings, along with even more guest performers carrying us through the end of the evening.”

Even though Kajaani is across the world, it is very similar to Marquette.

“Kajaani is a city in Northern Finland, in the middle of the country,” said Mary Lou Blomquist, the chair of Marquette Sister City Partnership. “And it’s such a good partnership with Marquette because its a community of about 35,000 people, its on a very large body of water, it has a really neat downtown area with a town square, and the people are very committed to the environment, and to being outdoors, and to physical recreation just like Marquette.”

To learn more about these organizations and to find future events, you can visit the Marquette Area Sister Cities Partnership Facebook page here, City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center website here and Marquette Symphony Orchestra website here.