The festival officially kicked off on Thursday, 28th July, with a parade consisting of all the different groups in Kotka, including the hot rod club, sauna clubs, several dance groups, different nationalities living within Kotka and many bands etc - the largest parade in Finland this year!
Ice Hockey Championships trophey!! Meidän poika on tullut kotiin :D
Sauna society float... Welcome to Finland!! :D
10 minutes after the parade went past it started pouring down rain and didn't let up for at least an hour turning roads into rivers and unrelenting on those who where fooled by the morning's warm weather so were unprepared for rain. However this didn't dampen my enthusiasm for enjoying my 1st Meripäivät, the other Australian and I ran from one end of Kotka to the harbour at the other end to go to a concert that was happening in a large closed in shed there, watched many Finnish artists and bands that I hadn't even heard of before my exchange but now can't imagine my music collection without them. The acts included Jukka Poika, Jare&VilleGalle, Paleface, Cheek, Fintelligens and many more, I am so glad I had the opportunity to see them live, another experience to ad to the insanely long list of amazing exchange memories.
Jare & VilleGalle
my only regret about day one was the fact that I had forgotten to charge my camera beforehand so it only lasted 1/2 way through the night :(
The celebrations continued until mid-morning Sunday and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, the stalls, activities and running into people from school I hadn't seen all Summer and catching up and generally enjoying Kotka's 'Big event' as in the one they have every year.