HANCOCK — This weekend, the Copper Country is the place to be for Heikinpaiva, the celebration of the halfway point of the winter season.

The festivities are already going on, with several enrichment classes about Finnish culture taking place during the week.

Finnish Theme Committee member David Maki said Heikinpaiva is all about enjoying the winter.

“Winter, as you well know, can be somewhat treacherous at times,” he said. “It’s cold. It’s dark. There are a lot of reasons to stay indoors and become a hermit. But we take advantage of our winter and we use it as a means to celebrate not only our ethnicity, but just the fact that winter is half over and we can get out and enjoy it,” Maki said.

Saturday will feature many activities, including the Tori Market, whipsled rides and the wife–carrying contest.

The parade through Hancock will feature Reuben Niemisto, this year’s Hankooki Heikki, riding on top of the largest kicksled in the world. And of course, the polar bear dive will take place for the brave souls who decide to plunge into Portage Lake.

A full schedule of events is available at www.pasty.com/heikki.