Naselle Finnish/American Folk Festival July 29th,30th & 31st

The Naselle Finnish/American Folk Festival is pleased to announce the upcoming folk festival scheduled for the last weekend in July!! July 29th, 30th and 31st are the dates. Be there or be square!! Call 360-484-3602 for more info!

There will be crafts, food demonstrations and sales, movies, games, lectures and all kinds of performances, workshops and dances. We will once again offer a delicious Salmon dinner on Saturday, the 30th, sponsored by the Grays River Grange.

Sunday, the 31st will be a Bilingual church service with special music and a delicious coffee hour afterwards put on by the Lutheran Church ladies.

We are so excited to have the Finlandia Foundation performer of the year, Eeppi Ursin, who will be sharing her beautiful voice with us! Eeppi is a platinum-selling award -winning singer, songwriter, and pianist with a very versatile career. She has performed all over the world and audiences will have the opportunity to hear her on Friday night, July 29th at 7:00 p.m. and/or on Saturday night, July 30th at 7:00 p.m. Her new album: ‘Speechless’, a combination of pop, soul and singer-songwriter traditions will be on sale in our Tori.

We will once again feature Toby Hanson and his ‘Smilin’ Scandinavians at our big Finnish/American Folk dance on Saturday night, July 30th, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Their band demonstrates talent, professionalism and humor! They provide great dancing music for all ages! Toby Hanson is the bandleader, accordionist and singer, along with two-time Washington State Tuba Champion Mike Woolf, drummer Erick Cohn, banjo/ guitar player Glenn Dudley and clarinet/saxophone virtuoso Eric Likkel. This band draws from a collection of lively polkas, old-time country and big band swing.

We will be honoring Wilho Saari at our Finnish/American/Folk festival this year.

He was a National award winning and Master Kantele player, composer and teacher for years!! The Kantele is the Finnish National instrument. We were honored and privileged to have him live and perform in our local community.

Valerie Blessley and her trio: “Soittorasia” will be honoring him with their Kantele music and workshops. The trio consists of Valerie on kanteles and woodwinds, Elisa Boynton on Violin, kantele and jouhikko and Jennifer Pratt-Walter on harp, kantele, percussion and woodwinds. The trio will be playing Finnish, Nordic, classical as well as original music. Drawing from their extensive backgrounds, this trio brings their music alive for their audiences. Valerie and her group will be performing both on Friday and Saturday. They will also be offering beginning Kantele lessons on Saturday.

We are fortunate to have Carl Wirkkala and his band, ‘The Whistle Punks’, returning to perform at our festival.

Carl Wirkkala hails from Castle Rock, Washington. He has deep family roots in the Pacific Northwest and brings to life tales of ghost towns, trains and lonesome drifters through his music. Carl enjoys writing songs based on the stylings of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Bob Dylan. Several of his songs detail scenes from the different regions in Southwest Washington. He has been writing and performing for the past 20 years. His newest album will feature his new band,

The Whistle Punks. This group of talented musicians comes from the Vancouver, Portland area. The Band consists of Carl on lead vocals and guitar, Chad McAllister on electric guitar, Christine McAllister on bass and backup vocals, Jesse Cunningham on pedal steel and Don Lawry on drums. They will also be performing both on Friday and Saturday.

We are privileged to have Kim Angelis and Jennifer Goodenberger as a part of our festival this year. Kim Angelis is a world-renowned violin player and Jennifer is an accomplished pianist. They will be playing together on stage both on Friday and Saturday. Kim is an award-winning composer and violin virtuoso and will be sharing original compositions as she sings each string like a gypsy poet. Her music constantly brings audience members to their feet!

Jennifer Goodenberger is a solo and collaborative pianist. She will be sharing original compositions and arrangements of folk and Celtic music!

We will be showcasing the Viking Nordic Scandia dancers from Astoria, OR at our festival. They will be performing on Saturday afternoon. This amazing dance troupe has been dancing for over 50 years! The group consists of three groups: Nordic’s, 2nd to 6th graders, the Vikings, 7th through High School and the adult group. This is a dance performance not to be missed!

We are excited to have the local performing group:  “Swamp Opera” from Cathlamet, performing on Friday night, July 29th.

The Skamokawa Swamp Opera is an acoustic band of Wahkiakum County musicians that have recorded everything from early Americana to rock to opera. They are known for their vocal harmonies and unique arrangements on guitar, cello, banjo, mandolin, mandocello and percussion. They have been featured in multiple Finnish/American/Folk festivals as well as others. Their 2020 album, Foxglove Streets, features all original music, much of it rooted in Southwest Washington.

We will also be featuring Dale Bradley, a renowned celloist from Springfield, Oregon. Dale was a University of Oregon Music graduate and a longtime member of the Eugene Symphony and the Oregon Mozart Players. Dale’s compositions and arrangements have been played in all kinds of venues on the west coast, from retirement centers to the LA Philharmonic. Dale directs the Springfield Youth Orchestra as well as teaches cello, bass and guitar in his own private studio. He will be sharing music from Jean Sibelius and other Finnish composers.

We will be showcasing several interesting speakers, workshop providers and presentations. One of them is Greg Jacobs.

Greg Jacobs will be speaking about the Kalevala, the history of the ‘land of heroes’, the Finnish National epic with pictures and a slide show. Greg was born and raised in Astoria, Oregon and has a long list of accomplishments.

Emeritus Professor of English, retired

1994-2012, Associate Professor of English at Portland State University

2006-2112, Director, Rhet-Comp Program, PSU

1984-1993, Assistant Professor of English at Pacific University

Fulbright Lectureship to Madurai-Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu, India, 1990

Books Written include: Fins, Finns and Astorians!

Another speaker joining us is Jim Kurtti. Jim was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He atttended Suomi College, University of Helsinki and University of Minnesota, where he graduated in a BA in Finnish Studies and Social Work.  Kurtti was appointed the Director of the Finnish American Heritage Center and Editor of The Finnish American Reporter at Finlandia University, positions he held until retirement in 2021. 

Jim will be speaking about ‘Love Letters from Finland’, a family history revealed through letters from Finland to Arvid Kallunki. He will also be speaking and showing a film titled “Sirkka”, a documentary of one of Finnish America’s most amazing women.

We will be offering visitors a chance to hear Karl Marlantes, the popular author of “Deep River”, the New York best-selling book about life in our little Finnish community in the late 1800’s. He will be signing autographs even!

Another traditional activity will be the Paavo Nurmi run, based on the famous ‘Flying Finn’, Olympic star, where all ages may sign up and run or walk the path. Awards will be given out to the different age groups for walkers and runners.

Games will be offered such as Frisbee golf, the traditional wife carry contest, Nokia phone throw and boot toss contests. A home-run hitting contest will be offered as well.

This year’s festival is not be missed! Please follow FAFF on their website page at and also on their Facebook page for more information about our upcoming festival.


Barb Swanson


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