The dictionary definition of “celebrate” is “to acknowledge a significant or happy day or event with a social gathering or enjoyable activity”. And the “BLUE-BLACK & WHITE” EVENT on April 28th at “Eesti Maja” was indeed a social gathering of grand proportions. And there were definitely enjoyable activities a-plenty: shopping for beautiful Estonian art, handicrafts and artifacts, tasting exquisite Estonian home-baked goods and experiencing delightful performances by talented Estonian children and youth.
And the significant event being celebrated on BLUE-BLACK & WHITE (BBW) day? In 2018 AKEN and Friends of Estonian House hooked up to celebrate Estonia’s enormously noteworthy 100th anniversary (EV100) with the BBW event #1. In 2019 AKEN and EH Friends decided to honor Estonia’s 101st anniversary (EV101) with BBW event #2. EV101 is noteworthy for the inordinate number (13) of 100th anniversaries of various institutions in Estonia including the Parliament’s 100th birthday on April 25th, which happened to coincide nicely with AKEN’s BBW event #2.
The April 28th event clearly had the atmosphere of a “rahvapidu” translated by Saakpakk as a “popular fête”, “public festival or celebration”, “village festival” or “public merrymaking”, all of which apply very aptly to the goings-on in the grand hall of Esto House on the 28th. The description “village festival” seems particularly apt as friends and neighbours of the Estonian House and Estonian families from far and wide and of all ages from infants to great-great grandparents mingled together in a village-like fatmosphere..
And speaking of neighbourhood fans of Esto House, I ran into Sarah to whom I had sold a sewing machine at last year’s BBW event, a machine deemed to be Estonian by virtue of the fact it had been owned and donated by an Estonian. Sarah was happy to report that the sewing machine was working well and that her son, to whom she had gifted the machine, had duly learned to sew up the split seams of his own pants
And to continue another story from last year’s post-sale article, two questions arise: 1. Did Ivi Kiilaspea bake a rum cake for this year’s Friends’ Café? 2. Did Lionel, who has been buying Ivi’s rum cakes since he first purchased one 26 years ago at a HIIGELBASAAR at St. Andrew’s Church, show up at this year’s bake sale? The answer to both questions is yes! In fact, Ivi’s rum cake never even make it inside the door this year. Lionel spied the cake while waiting in line and made a beeline for Ivi, money in hand! Any haggling over the price? No, described as smiling broadly Lionel told Ivi “to keep the change!”
How unfortunate that no photographer was on hand to capture this historical moment in AKEN’s 28 year bake sale history…
Although it’s much more fun to experience the AKEN BBW sale first hand, in this digital day and age, you don’t actually have to be physically present in order to make purchases in real time. A click of the iphone and within minutes Kristi and Adu Allpere situated in Atlanta, Georgia replied that they liked what they saw and immediately purchased an Abel Lee hanging on the wall of Esto House in Toronto. And with another click of the iphone AKEN salesperson Maaja Matsoo’s granddaughter in Tallinn, Estonia became the proud owner of a pair of boots, previously owned and donated by a Toronto Estonian.
The first impression upon entering the grand hall of Estonian Huse on April 28th was that of abundance:
tables laden with an abundance and with an infinite variety of donated Estonian artifacts, the clothing racks heavy with an abundance of Estonian folk costumes, the carpet wall covered with an abundance of art work by Estonian artists. And who was the “greeter” upon entering the grand hall? A large “Estonian” kangaroo, an animal not exactly native to Estonia. “Hr. Känguru” was previously owned by Australian Estonians and was purchased at the BBW sale by none other than AKEN salesperson Anne Liis Keelmann as a gift to her Estonian Australian husband to serve as a greeter in the foyer of their new house. Like they say, there is nothing that AKEN women can’t sell! (or won’t buy) !
This year’s AKEN sale was greatly enhanced by the additions of creative vendors, who sold their own creations from floral crowns (pärjad ) to knitwear to jewellery to fashions: Merike Hess, Piret Komi,
Evi Pertens, Kadi Piirak, Liis Teedla, Leena Tinits. Speaking of creativity, on Saturday the 27th during the set-up of the sale, seamstress Leena acquired some vintage doilies with drawn-thread stitching (pilutatud linikud) and by the next day, the “linikud” had been “repurposed” into a beautiful linen jacket. So henceforth the AKEN logo has been expanded to: “REDUCE, RECYCLE, REUSE AND REPURPOSE!”
And now last and most importantly, what made the BLUE-BLACK & WHTE event #2 truly whole and complete? Yes, you guessed correctly – the children and young people who participated and performed for a very appreciative audience. A heartfelt thank you – AITÄH to the students of the Hamilton Estonian School, to the students of the Toronto Estonian School and to the spirited dancers of Kungla!
And while fun was being had, money was being earned in support of our local Estonian community - into AKEN coffers flowed approximately $5,000 and into the Friends of Estonian House coffers $1,800.
In 2020 AKEN celebrates its 30th anniversary so stay tuned….on behalf of AKEN, Ellen Leivat
Käesolev veebileht on Eesti Elu paberlehe tellijate toetatud, toeta sinagi ja telli leht juba täna:)
PHOTOS: Maaja Matsoo, Jaak Järve, Paul Kiilaspea (2019)