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Rain couldn’t dampen the celebratory spirit at Kaisaniemi park during last year’s Helsinki day.This year's celebration of the city's birthday promises to be just as lovely as in the past, with a few additions

Perhaps the first things that should be known about Helsinki Day is that the city's birthday will take place on 12 June and that all events related to it are free of charge for the general public.

The first Helsinki Day was celebrated in 1959, which was the 409th anniversary of the foundation of the city. By the early 1960s the attendance of the celebration grew to about ten thousand people, and needless to say, nowadays it has only gained in popularity as a result of a more elaborate program of events.

Helsinki day is organised by many different organisations, associations and local people, and this year's program promises to be just as entertaining as in the previous years. Each year, the event seems new and fresh because the program always relies on the inspiration of its varied organisers. The standard features of the festivities include a program on the Espa stage as well as morning coffee in many of the city's neighbourhoods, starting at 9am.

An interesting addition to this year's program are the open door tours, which is an event popular in elsewhere in the world. In Helsinki, people will be invited to take tours and attend events at the Töölönlahti villas, go to the Ateneum free of charge (the Tove Janssen exhibit is still on, for those interested) or visit the Olympic stadium among other places.

For a slice of culture turn to Annantalo Arts Centre, which will host an intriguing art exhibit as well as an early Midsummer celebration including music and midsummer spells. If you're more into music, go to City Hall, Sibelius park, Espa stage on Esplanadi, Kaisaniemi park, Kontula shopping centre, or go picnicking and dancing '50s style at the Hakasalmi Villa.

Last but not least, there are events that cater to those planning to spend the day with the family. For example, you can visit a yurt sauna, go fishing, have dinner under the light summer sky, listen to some music while picnicking at Sinebrychoff park, or go to Linnanmäki and ride the Rinkeli ferris wheel for free. Meanwhile, the smallest participants of Helsinki Day can check out some of the Pellekaija Pum children's concerts happening in Helsinki's play parks throughout the day.

Dance, theater, music, films, history, food and sports will abound on this day that promises to be a vibrant celebration of our wonderful city's birthday. If you are in the city, it is certainly an event not to be missed!

To find the whole Helsinki Day program, visit: http://www.helsinkipaiva.fi/

Tijana Stolic - HT

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