Quirky summer events in Finland

4 minute read
Person hugging a tree in Finland.

Credits: Eat Shoot Drive

Finland is full of warm, weird, and wonderful summer events

From playing air guitar to heavy metal knitting and tree-hugging, here’s our list of unconventional summer events in July and August that will take you to new places and experiences – and put a smile on your face in the happiest country in the world.

Article updated February 21, 2024.

Credits: Lasse Simonen

Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships

Heavy metal lovers and handicrafters unite as Joensuu hosts the annual Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships. Did you know that there are more than 50 heavy metal bands for every 100,000 people in Finland? Not to mention the thousands of enthusiastic knitters who are metal heads, which is why combining the two genres provides for a very entertaining and quirky show.  

More information on the event:

Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships attract participants from dozens of countries around the world annually.
Credits: Irma Lehikoinen

Sauna Heating World Championships 

In Finland, the birthplace of sauna, heating up the steam bath is an art. At the Sauna Heating World Championships competing teams aim to heat up a tent sauna to a target temperature as quickly as possible. Cooperation, good team spirit, and a positive mindset is all that’s needed.  

More information on the event:

At the Sauna Heating World Championships, teams are encouraged to dress up to entertain the audience.
Credits : Julia Kivelä
Best outfits are awarded with a prize.
Credits: Julia Kivelä

Swamp Soccer World Championships

A good sporting match in the mud draws people from around the world to the Swamp Soccer World Championships every summer. The popular event is attended by nearly 200 teams, with more than 2,000 players from different countries. Onsite entertainment including Swamp Rock add to the fun-loving competition that’s open to everyone from companies and groups of friends to sports clubs. 

July 12-13, 2024, Hyrynsalmi, near Oulu  

Credits : Ukkohalla Resort
Credits: Ukkohalla Resort

Sleepy Head Day Festival  

In the coastal town of Naantali in the Finnish Archipelago, the annual Sleepy Head Day Festival features a range of events around the theme of sleepy heads – those who sleep late on this day are thought to be lazy and non-productive for the rest of the year. The day starts with an early-morning wake-up call for the Official Sleepy Head of the Year, a celebrity, who is thrown into the Baltic Sea at 7 am. A range of events around the theme including a market with artisan products, a parade, and a cake competition.  

July 27, 2024, Naantali 

Credits : Sleepyhead Day Festival
Credits: Sleepyhead Day Festival

Finnish Gold Panning Championships

Did you know that Finland has a gold rush history? In Finnish Lapland, at the Tankavaara Gold Village, you can get acquainted with the story, or participate in the Finnish Gold Panning Championships nearby. The annual event offers up a lively experience for the whole family, whether spectating or competing. There’s a range of categories, including one for beginners, and the winner in each category is the panner who finds all the hidden gold nuggets first. 

July 26-28, 2024, Tankavaara 

Credits: Juho Kuva

World Wife Carrying Championship

Among the longest running and headline-grabbing competitions that take place in Finland, the World Wife Carrying Championship is at the top of the list. Organised in Sonkajärvi every year since its inception in 1992, the race is won by the first one over the finish line carrying their spouse. The fun-loving event attracts loads of onlookers each year and the prize is the wife’s weight in beer.  

July 5-6, 2024, Sonkajärvi  

Credits: Hannu Keränen

Tree Hugging World Championships

Every summer nature lovers gather together in Levi, Finnish Lapland, to see who can best express their passion for trees at the Tree Hugging World Championships. The cuddly competition is all about tapping into the benefits that forests have for mind and body in Europe’s most forested country – close to 75 percent of Finland’s land area is covered by forest.  

August 24, 2024, Halipuu Forest, Kittilä

Credits : Eat Shoot Drive
Credits: Eat Shoot Drive

Air Guitar World Championships

The legendary Air Guitar World Championships make the international press every year for its curious, fun-loving approach that sees people from around the world strumming their imaginary instruments on stage. The goal of the annual event, which has been arranged in Oulu since 1996, is to promote world peace. According to the organisers, if everyone in the world were playing an air guitar, no one would be able to hold a gun.  

August 21-23, 2024, Oulu 

Credits: Pia Ala-Torvinen & Air Guitar World Championships

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