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Copper Country Folklore Character Heikki Lunta Is Topic of January 24 Lecture

HANCOCK, MI - In a lecture on Thursday, January 24, 2013, at 6:00 p.m., at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, Hilary Virtanen will share the story of the life and times of Heikki Lunta, the Finnish American Snow God.

Virtanen is a Ph.D. candidate in folklore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and public programming coordinator for the Finnish American Heritage Center. The free, public lecture is a part of this year's Heikinpäivä Finnish Midwinter Festival.

Heikki Lunta was born in a 1970s song advertising a snowmobile race, and he rapidly became a fixture in upper Midwest regional folk life. Heikki Lunta means many things to many people, and his legend as the Snow God is celebrated in a body of songs, multiple festivals, and small group folklore.

In her lecture, Virtanen will explore why Heikki Lunta holds such a place of begrudging honor in Copper Country public life and how regional history, Finnish and U.P. inter-ethnicity, and the development of the tourism industry have all contributed to his legend.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is located at 435 Quincy Street in downtown Hancock.

For more information, contact Hilary Virtanen at 906-487-7505.