MERRILL - One hundred years ago, Finland gained its independence from Russia. As part of Finland's birthday, a sauna will travel the United States.
On Thursday, the traveling sauna stopped in Merrill. Since January, the sauna has been traveling around the country.
"First we went down to Texas and then from Texas we headed west. We went through the west coast from Los Angeles all the way up to Seattle," said Traveling Sauna's Chief Sauna Ambassador Risto Sivula.
Not only does the traveling sauna celebrate Finland's centennial, but it also helps educate the public.
"Five and a half million people, two million cars, and three million saunas, so every home in Finland has a sauna like out here in the U.S., you wouldn't build a home without the garage, right," said Sivula.
Metsa Machines in Merrill hosted the traveling sauna. Their business started a little over a year ago and they're in the process of importing products from Finland.
"The lines are very simple, the products very simple, but it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to develop that degree of simplicity," said Metsa Machines President Patrick Taylor.
Taylor also says he's been using a Finnish-style sauna for about eight years and enjoys the benefits of it. He says hosting the traveling sauna is a great way to celebrate saunas and Finland's independence.
"Having met a number of number of Finnish people and having had the opportunity to spend time there, they are wonderful people and [are] a wonderful culture and [it's] wonderful for everyone to be able to experience this aspect of Finland," said Taylor.
As of right now, the sauna has about 9,000 miles on it. This summer will be spent traveling around the upper mid-west and this fall it will tour the east coast.
This weekend, the traveling sauna will be in Hancock at the Juhannus Mid-Summer Festival. For a full list of stops, click on the link below.
Traveling Sauna Schedule