In 1978, 33 members of the “American-Finnish Society of the Delaware Valley” gathered to lay out by-laws, elect the first officers, establish the group’s purpose and set the annual dues. The group adopted its current name “Finnish-American Society of the Delaware Valley” (FASDV) in 1997. A vital sub-group since 1999 has been the Philadelphia Suomi-koulu.
Meeting in members’ homes, FASDV also uses larger facilities, such as the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia. Some of FASDV’s events include church services in Finnish and English (offered at Christmas and Easter); annual Juhannus and Vappu parties; and fall picnics which have brought fun times for adults and children alike. Golf, quilting, tango and piirakka parties are other favorites. FASDV also regularly participates in celebrations of the 1638 arrival of the first Finns to this continent at the Settlers Monument in Chester, PA. The group has represented local expatriates at the Finnish Expatriate Parliament of a law granting dual citizenship rights, effective June 1st, 2003. We have had a vibrant program through out the years, dependent on member’s interests which have ranged from skiing to opera.
Some of our special guests have included Lasse Viren, Finland’s double-Olympic gold medal winner (after he won the Philadelphia Half Marathon), Tapiola Choir, opera singer Karita Mattila, composer Eino Juhani Rautavaara, conductor Osmo Vänskä, pianist Olli Mustonen, violinist Pekka Kuusisto, Speaker of the Parliament of Finland Eero Heinäluoma and many others.