Finland readying for another season of crazy summer events

mud-menSummers in Finland are surprisingly warm and gentle; but those who live anywhere but Northern Europe often have difficulty believing this. So, the country is using the array of games that began as local events and evolving them into fully-fledged tourist attractions, much to the joy of Finland’s struggling economy.

Already well-known for bizarre competitions like wife-carrying races and Air Guitar World Championships, Finland is bracing for another busy summer of fun and frivolous events well worth planning a visit around.

Kicking off the Finnish gaming season is the ever-popular wife-carrying race. On 3 and 4 July you can witness men hauling their wives (or someone else’s) through an obstacle course. Stick around for the 12th-annual Swamp Football championship on 17-18 July. As you can imagine, it involves playing football on the muddiest, messiest pitch possible.

August 7-8 turns up the heat with the annual World Sauna Championships, where competitors must “sit in the sauna with buttocks and thighs on the seat” at all times. This particular event is a major source of pride for the Finns, who are connoisseurs of the pastime.

The extremely entertaining Air Guitar Championships in Finland’s far northern town of Oulu takes place from August 19-21. And a few days later on August 22, visitors can enter the Mobile Phone Throwing Contest and see if they can hurl their phone, preferably a Nokia, farther than anyone else.

These are just the main events created by the Finns to revel in their brief but glorious summer months. Such is the level of fun that they are all emerging as major tourist draws, gaining popularity every year.

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