Mr Asko Vihavainen, photographed by Riitta-Johanna Laitinen, The Association for Rural Culture

Some highlights of this year’s programme are featured below.

The Soapstone Carving Championship

The 1st Finnish Stone Carving Championship and related events will be organised in Juuka. The theme for the competition, Wild Nature, is highlighting the responsible use of nature and the challenges of preserving its diversity and beauty. The sculptural properties of soapstone and the sculptural skills of Juuka have been evident throughout the last century in the facade decorations of numerous buildings in Finland, and skilled Juuka stonemasons even sculpted the reliefs of some Russian churches.

Juuka, 2nd – 4th July

The Traditional Hay Skewering Contest

Agricultural traditions will be celebrated in the Koli recreational area with the traditional hay skewering contest. The contest is held between teams of four - two hay skewers, a raker and a pole erector. Let’s not forget the fun - contestants are advised to dress up for the occasion and the best hay skewering costume will win an award. The event includes also an Instagram photograph contest. The event has free entry for all.

Koli, Lieksa, 3rd July

The Bear Festival

Finland's easternmost cultural festival, The Bear Festival in Ilomantsi, includes wood sculpting competitions for chainsaw sculptors, Finnish contemporary folk art, bear-related cultural traditions and other local cultural activities. The festival celebrates creativity, folklore and of course bears, Finland’s national animal. The family friendly festival has free entry.

Ilomantsi, 13th – 15th August

Helsinga Medieval Day

Helsinga Medieval Day in Vantaa means all the fun of the fair - scents and tastes, music, guided tours, talks and handicraft demonstrations. It’s a large-scale event for families, young and old, and will take place in the authentic medieval surroundings of the Church of St Lawrence and its vicarage. The festival contributes a picnic concert in the vicarage apple orchard and other music-related attractions such as Take a Break concerts and a children’s music workshop. The event has free entry for all.

Vantaa, 14th August

Hiking in in the Hyyppä Valley Landscape Conservation Area

Hiking in in the Hyyppä Valley Landscape Conservation Area offers outdoor recreation in the varying riverside cultural landscape of Southern Ostrobothnia’s open agricultural landscape. Participants can choose between 6 km, 10 km and 17 km trails. The entrance fee includes soup lunch, coffee and the water stations along the trails.

Kauhajoki, 29th August

In addition to these and many more summer events The European Heritage Days are mainly celebrated in Finland on the second week of September.

For all the events and campaigns in Finland, see the EHD portal and the national calendar at .