Dozens of Finlandia University students and employees played part in representing nearly 60 countries in Saturday’s Parade of Nations.
The Parade returned home to Quincy Green this year after being rerouted in 2021. Overlooked by FinnU’s historic Hirvonen Hall, community members gathered as the start of the Parade approached. Celebrating cultural diversity in the Keweenaw, floats and marchers with flags and banners walked down Quincy Street, crossed the Portage Lift Bridge and continued through downtown Houghton. Hundreds of patrons lined the Parade’s route and watched as participants marched, many in ethnic and national dress.
As in years past, the parade ended at Houghton’s Dee Stadium, where 10 student groups and organizations from Finlandia and Michigan Tech served meals in the Multicultural Festival’s return. Waiting for patrons to arrive was Mariana Nakashima, administrative assistant for FinnU’s International School of Business and Suomi College of Arts & Sciences, who shared what the experience was like for those at the Dee.
“Waiting and anticipating for the parade to come to the Dee stadium; it’s just us, the volunteers, who are organizing and preparing to serve the food. Then I turn and there are hundreds of people flooding into the stadium, all at the same time, all earlier than scheduled,” Nakashima said. “We are ready for them and we have been for an hour. Everyone seems to know which food of which country they would like to buy, and suddenly there are long lines at every single food booth. Food starts selling and selling fast. People are smiling, conversations are starting everywhere. Many people gather and find friends who they have not seen for some time.
“As I am making sure the booths have supplies, I turn around and see our wonderful Finlandia Women’s Hockey players serving Pannukakku. They have the biggest smiles and are eager to make sure their dessert becomes the next Parade of Nations staple. As time goes on we are all more comfortable with the anticipation, wait, excitement, and joy of the event that brings all of us to one place. Just like this year’s theme, ‘The World is One’, our town felt like one fortunate, joyful, and multicultural family.”
Serving as float judges for the Parade were Mayra Morgan of MTU, Aila Weber of Hancock Rotary, and Finlandia University professor Haley Makela. The float winners are as follows:
- 1st Place ($300) – Fulbright Students’ Association / Ukraine
- 2nd Place ($200) – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
- 3rd Place ($100) – Indian Students Association
For more information, please visit the Parade of Nations website or contact the Parade of Nations committee at email@example.com. A photo album of the Parade will be released at finlandia.edu later this week.
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