Dancing, swimming and fishing at the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market 2016

The week-long Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will take place 2–8 October. The Helsinki Market Square, its sea-side piers and the Old Market Hall will be brimming with fishermen, delicacies of the autumn season, music and diverse events for the whole family. The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is open on the opening Sunday, 2 October, from 7am to 8pm, from Monday to Friday 3–7 October from 7am to 7pm, and on Saturday 8 October from 7am to 3pm.

The heart of the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be the dozens of fishermen, who will arrive at the Market Square from the coastal cities and Åland, as well as the tasty, traditional, seasoned herrings and a large selection of delicious marinades for herring, ranging from rowan berries to red pepper. This year, 18 fishing boats will arrive at the market and 16 fishermen will sell their catches in the vendor stalls.

Islander-style delicacies are also sold by traditional sailing boats Albanus, Vivan, Olga and Valborg, moored to the Market Square docks.

A programme has been planned for the whole week, from angling to fish tasting and from a children’s herring jury to a Market Square Dance.

“The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is a celebration for all citizens, and it will offer a varied, free-of-charge programme for all. We hope that this, perhaps the most likeable, food event in Helsinki will be even more attractive to tourists from nearby, from Tallinn, Stockholm and St. Petersburg,” says Milla Visuri, who is in charge of making Helsinki into a tastier food tourism city.

Kuva: Eetu Ahanen
Photo: Eetu Ahanen

The opening ceremony takes place on Sunday, October 2 – this year, children will also have their own taste test jury

On opening Sunday, a party tent will be set up on the Market Square, offering a free-of-charge programme for all the citizens. The host of the party tent will be culinary trend-setter Kenneth Nars.

The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be opened at 11 with a speech by Deputy Mayor Pekka Sauri and a trumpet duo from Helsinki City Orchestra will accompany the event.

The traditional Herring Jury will gather at the party tent at 12 noon. The best products provided by the fishermen will be evaluated by Sampsa Vilhunen, Programme Director of WWF, Jarkko Myllymäki, founder of Restaurant Juuri, Linda Stenman-Langhoff, Sommelier of Restaurant Aski, and Suvi Ahola, Culinary Journalist. The jury will also include one layman member, who will be chosen through an application process on Helsinki Baltic Herring Market’s Facebook page. The winners of Herring Jury 2016 will be awarded on the party tent stage at 4pm.

This year, children will also have their own tasting jury at the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market. The children’s herring jury, now held for the first time, will meet at 3pm, and the children will learn more about herring and draw pictures of sea food. The children’s jury will be guided by chef and culinary author Pipsa Hurmerinta.

As in previous years, the clubs of the Rotary district will collect funds for the protection of the Baltic Sea through a traditional Silakkasoutu rowing race, which will start from the Finlandia house and arrive at Vironallas at the Market Square at 12:30 noon.

At the end of the opening day, the Market Square Dance organised by Tori Quarters will be held in the Market Square’s party tent between 5pm and 8pm. Last year, the warmth and joy between people were palpable, and the music was excellent and well-suited to the maritime theme. This year, the same masters will take the stage: fisherman, poet and DJ Harri Hertell with the rarely-heard Tanssiorkesteri Pyöriäiset dance orchestra: Antto Melasniemi, Joel MelasniemiMikko VirtaKalle ChydeniusJuha Kuoppala and Juho Viljanen.

On the opening day, the Market Square will house fishing cabins and boats, as well as cafés, and accordionist Seija Vesterinen will accompany the festive atmosphere, both at the Market Square and in the Old Market Hall. Temporary herring tattoos will be given to children and those young at heart during the opening day.

Photo: Eetu Ahanen
Photo: Eetu Ahanen

Season’s delicacies, Baltic Sea information and fish handling shows

During the week, fresh food and beverages of the season will be sold at the Helsinki Market Square. The Old Market Hall and some of the restaurants surrounding the Market Square will also serve their own delicacies: discover the highly original islander-style bread of the Market Square, taste the season’s sea buckthorn juice, get your herring-shaped chocolates from Kultasuklaa, learn how to gut herring in E. Eriksson’s fishmongers or try the stone-oven baked herring pizza of restaurant Vaelsa of the Tori Quarters.

For the whole week, the Lyypekinlaituri next to the Old Market Hall will hold various events: the Sports Department will organise programmes from fish handling shows and tastings to angling, the Port of Helsinki will present the new West Terminal 2 with the help of a virtual model, the aquarium by Kalatalouden Keskusliitto will showcase various fish species of the Baltic Sea, while also providing information concerning the reformed Fishing Act, the Harakka Nature Centre will present its island excursions and entertain the children with a Fish Game, and the Baltic Sea Challenge point by the Environment Centre will offer the chance to let the visitors share what they would be willing to do for the Baltic Sea.

The programme of the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market also offers Allas Sea Pool, which will hold events for the whole week, including Herring swims, music and other. The terrace café of the Allas Sea Pool serves rye sandwich with traditionally marinated herring patty and red onions. The fishermen will also have the chance to sauna, bathe, eat and swim at the Allas Sea Pool.

This year, the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market pays special attention to being environmentally friendly with the help of the EcoCompass environmental system. For example, the tasty treats by the cafés open during the opening day will be enjoyed from biodegradable serving dishes.

The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be organised by the Helsinki Wholesale Market, in cooperation with the City Executive Office, the Public Works Department, Helsingin Markkinointi Oy, Tori Quarters, and the Port of Helsinki. Additionally, the week’s programme has been organised by the Baltic Sea Challenge, the Environment Centre, Harakka Nature Centre, Helsinki Helps, the Sports Department, Kalatalouden Keskusliitto federation, Finlandia Hall Rotary club, Lauttasaari Rotary club, Lauttasaaren Musiikkiopisto, Lapuan Kankurit, Mat, LOKAL, Restaurant Salve and Allas Sea Pool.

Kuva: Eetu Ahanen
Photo: Eetu Ahanen
Photo: Eetu Ahanen
Photo: Eetu Ahanen