Helsinki Market Square will once again be buzzing with fishers, Baltic herring and seasonal delicacies, as we celebrate the week-long Helsinki Baltic Herring Market on 7–13 October. This year, 30 fishers will be participating by selling their products fresh from their fishing vessels and sales huts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sunday to Friday, 7–12 October, and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, 13 October. The Market Week is full of free public events for the entire family, food and islander culture as well as the unique atmosphere and traditions of seaside Helsinki.
Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is one of the oldest traditional events in Finland, and it would be nothing without the dozens of fishers who participate. They arrive at the Market Square from seaside towns and Åland – carrying a cargo of thousands of kilos of Baltic herring. The traditional seasoned herrings and the colourful array of seasonal delicacies from juices to delightful jams and succulent islander bread will make your mouth water.
Islander-style delicacies will also be sold from the traditional sailing boats Albanus, Vivan, Olga, Valborg and Joanna Saturna along with tales of sailing boat tradition, moored at the Market Square docks.
The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market opening day celebrations will be organised on the Market Square on Sunday 7 October
As is customary, the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be opened on the first Sunday of October, as the fishers bring their Baltic herring and seasonal produce to the market. Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori will give the city’s address from the glass-walled pavilion on Keisarinluodonlaituri. The traditional opening ceremony will be kicked off with a ship’s bell and brass band at 11 a.m.
The pop up restaurant Siisti Silakka will be in charge of catering at the pavilion, providing visitors with modern Baltic herring treats and an extensive lunch and tasting menu throughout the week. On opening Sunday, the pavilion will be hosted by culinary trend-setter Kenneth Nars.
Throughout the week, the pavilion will host public events free of charge – come and meet the Baltic Sea doctors, complete food waste assignments, taste some crickets, learn how to plant edible mushrooms, take part in the marine organisms quiz or play food waste dominos.
Marine scouts association Korven Koukkaajat comes ashore on Keisarinluodonlaituri on Sunday. In the pavilion, you may participate in a quick scout competition, and on the pier you may take a look inside the number one vessel of the scouts, S/Y Närppä.
This year, the market will also be celebrating the fact that the first MSC certificate for sustainable fishing in Finland has been awarded to the fishing of Baltic herring and sprat.
On the opening day, the Market Square will house fishing cabins and boats, as well as cafés and food vendors, and accordionist Seija Vesterinen will accompany the festive atmosphere, both at the Market Square and in the Old Market Hall. The Old Market Hall is also open on opening Sunday as well as throughout the week, offering chocolate Baltic herring and islander bread as well as a display of fish handling skills and expertise. During the market week, the oyster bistro will be focusing on Baltic herring.
The annual Silakkasoutu rowing race with its church boats will be coming ashore on Vironallas at noon on opening Sunday.
The Herring Jury will be selecting winners for 2018
This year, the traditional Herring Jury can be observed in the City Hall Restaurant from 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. on opening Sunday. The jury consists of Helsinki Marketing CEO Laura Aalto, one of the owners of Restaurant Nolla, fishing enthusiast Luca Balac, food writer and blogger Hanna Hurtta, Radio Helsinki host Anna Cadia, host, reporter and avid fisher and fish activist Mikko ”Peltsi” Peltola as well as this year’s layman member.
The decision of the jury is set to be revealed in the pavilion at 3.45 p.m. In the City Hall Restaurant, the public may enjoy the Baltic Herring Market sea-inspired lunch made with ingredients from the garden, field and sea served for the duration of the competition.
On opening day, Helsinki City Museum puts on a programme inspired by fish and the Baltic herring market for the entire family from noon to 3 p.m.: In the guided Fish ahoy workshop, you can make your own herring or fourhorned sculpin out of paper and try your hand at ice fishing. You can also watch fishing net weaving and fly tying demonstrations during the afternoon. There will be plenty to do at the museum throughout the week in the Olden times market independent workshop, where you may examine, colour in and personalise old photographs taken at the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market.
Warm temperatures and dancing by the sea
The first ever Helsinki Baltic Herring Market dance was organised at the statue of Havis Amanda in 2015, in cooperation with the Tori Quarters. The popular new tradition will be renewed this year as the dance pavilion will be located close to the sea, on Keisarinluodonlaituri.
Music is provided by the familiar nautical romantics from previous years, fisher, poet and DJ Harri Hertell and the rarely touring dance band Pyöriäiset.
The dance starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday 11 October. The pavilion restaurant Siisti Silakka provides refreshments for the duration of the event.
The endearing sauna caravan Rentola will also be arriving at the market. There, you can enjoy the pleasant heat of the sauna and let your mind rest, looking out onto the sea. The roomy sauna seats approximately 15 people and the excellent heat is provided by an Iki sauna stove.
Helsinki Baltic Herring Market
7–13 October 2018
Sunday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 7 .m. to 3 p.m.