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Student designers set tone for Sauna Week

Candace Wolf/Daily Mining Gazette The Sauna Week poster was unveiled at a Finnish Theme Committee meeting held at the Career & Tech Center in Hancock on Jan. 24.

HANCOCK — “You either love it or you hate it,” Brita Hepokoski explained.

The senior graphic design student at the Career & Tech Center in Hancock falls onto the side of loving saunas, and she brings this passion for the Finnish wellness tradition to her work on the logo and event poster for Sauna Week.

In late January, Brita and classmates Megan Pelto and Phoenix Nordmark unveiled their designs to the Finnish Theme Committee of Hancock, the organizing force behind the week of local sauna-related activities from Feb. 18 to 25.

Levi Grannis, graphics/marketing instructor for the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s Career and Technical Education program, guided the students’ work.

With the logo approved, the Hancock high-schoolers focused on developing the poster, which Grannis said provides the public with a welcoming and positive visual experience.

All entities on the poster “work in harmony,” Grannis said.

Megan contributed the font, which is bold, fun and also happens to be the national font of Finland. Brita focused on the natural elements of trees and water, while Phoenix used her eye for design to ensure balance in the composition.

“Sauna is an experience,” Brita said, as she explained how the motion of the water on the poster echoes the Sauna Week logo.

The students’ collaboration and appreciation for saunas were exhibited in the logo and poster designs that they delivered to the committee on tight deadlines.

“There’s no better lesson than work,” Grannis said.

State Rep. Greg Markkanen saw his resolution to honor Feb. 18-24 as Sauna Week in Michigan pass the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. The sauna is a valuable part of Finnish American culture and practice. Michigan has more Finnish immigrants than any other state and has six counties in the western Upper Peninsula where Finns make up the largest ethnic group.

“There are so many Yoopers with Finnish heritage, making celebrating Finnish history all the more important in the Upper Peninsula,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Saunas are essential to Finnish culture. Finns of all generations enjoy traditional saunas for cleansing and as a vital source of relaxation and socializing.”

The events and activities of Sauna Week begin Sunday:

• Sauna Week Exhibits from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18-24 at the Finnish American Heritage Center.

• Sauna Stories from Feb. 19-23 on Quincy Green.

• Sauna Expo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 24 on Quincy Green.

• Sauna Forum at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Finnish American Heritage Center.

• Copper Country Sauna Tour from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25. Tickets and maps for the self-guided tour are available at events during the week or at North Wind Books.

Call the Finnish American Heritage Center at 906-487-7549 or visit the Finnish Theme Committee’s Facebook page for more information.

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