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Nearly 30 members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) gathered for a conversation with Toivo Tänavsuu on Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 4:00 to 6:00 (to 8:00) pm hosted by and at the home of Erkki Taada and Lisa Mets, who also serves as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Mr. Tänavsuu is an investigative journalist with Estonia’s weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress. Mr. Tänavsuu engaged in a Question and Answer session about current events in Estonia: Who are Estonia’s newest immigrants? Is the threat from Russia real?

Mr. Tänavsuu also is the founder of “Kingitud elu” (gift of life), Estonia’s largest charitable organization. In just two years, the organization has raised over a million dollars and supported 90 individuals seeking cancer treatments that are not covered by state insurance. Those treatments have given patients the gift of extra precious time among their loved ones, hence the name of the charitable organization. Mr. Tänavsuu gave a moving presentation that told the story of his mother’s courageous battle with life-ending cancer and that recounted the founding and current success of Kingitud Elu, Estonia’s most successful philanthropic organization to date.

Mr. Tänavsuu and members of his family are on a 12-day whirlwind visit to Texas, Florida, and Illinois, and we are delighted the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts (KFES)) caught their attention.

More than 45 members and friends of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) had a wonderful time at their annual Jüriöö/Jaanipäev picnic and April birthday celebration on an exquisitely beautiful sunny and breezy day under the Bayfront Pavilion on Anna Maria Island, Florida, Sunday, April 24, 2016, from noon to 4:00 pm. Folks came from Tampa Bay and sort of nearby Zephyrhills and Orlando, and as faraway as Tallinn, Estonia; and two families came in a boat! We were thrilled to welcome a newlywed couple that just celebrated their marriage the preceding day.

Once again, the members provided an outstanding potluck luncheon that deliciously complemented grilled bratwurst provided by the membership and perfectly grilled by Anneliis Kuusik, Maare Kuuskvere and Markus Larsson.  Anne Holda on her guitar and Kaie Põhi Latterner on her accordion led us in festive Estonian songs. We congratulated our April birthday celebrants by singing the Estonian traditional birthday song, “Ta (nad) Elagu!” Happy birthday/palju õnne to Leena Aare (94!), Monica Orumaa Craig, Karl Noor, Triin Karr, Maare and Jaan Kuuskvere, and Aini Stephens!

This marks the end of KFES formal activities for the October-April period and the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) now goes on summer hiatus. Escaping the scorching heat and sweltering humidity of Florida in the summer, our members now scatter to cooler places up north and in Estonia. We will resume our activities formally at 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 2, 2016 (location to be determined).

If you are in our area in the meantime, please let us know. Those of us who are still here would love to spend some time with you!

Happy summer!

Nearly 30 members and friends of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts (KFES)) gathered together again on Sunday, March 20, 2016, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, for a potluck smorgasbord lunch and convivial conversation at the home of Ms. Kersti Linask, the President of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts). Indrek Linask, from Connecticut, was a welcome special guest.

KFES, 20. märts. 2016. St. Petersburg, FL. Foto: Erkki Taada

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An amazingly delicious smorgasbord was assembled by the members, and it included smoked ham prepared by Steve and Kaie Põhi Latterner, Reet’s potato salad, rosolje, salmon sandwiches, smoked fish, Jae’s Asian dumplings, and more. Dessert included chocolate frosted keeks, Kalev cookies, fresh fruit, a lovely jello mold, Merle Huber’s fabulous cookies and yogurt torte and more. It was a grand afternoon, and we are now looking forward to our potluck picnic on Anna Maria Island on Sunday, April 24, 2016, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. We hope you’ll plan to join us then! Please visit the events page for more details on the picnic.

Kesk Florida Eesti Seltsi (KFES) Eesti Vabariigi 98.a. Aastapäeva Tähistamine

Sel aastal Kesk Florida Eesti Selts tähistas Eesti Vabariigi 98. aastapäeva 20. veebruaril, 2016, Clearwater, Floridas. Nagu eelmistel aastatel toimus see ka sel aastal Countryside Country Club’is. Meil oli põnev ja tore kava külalistele!

Meie aukülaline oli eesti suursaatkonnast Ameerikas – lgp. pr. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, suursaatkonna asetäitja.

Kõik võtsid osa meie programmist “Kas tunned maad, mis Peipsi rannalt käib Läänemere kaldale…” ja õppisime meie kallist kodumaad paremini tundma!

Kavas oli langenute mälestamine, loterii, eesti muusikat, ühislaule, ja maitsev lõunasöök. Saime kokku vanade ja uute sõpradega ilusas päikesepaistelises soojas Floridas!

Estonian Society of Central Florida Estonia’s 98th Independence Day Celebration

This year the Estonian Society of Central Florida commemorated the 98th anniversary of Estonia’s Independence Day on Saturday, February 20th, 2016, in Clearwater, FL. As in previous years, the event was held at the Countryside Country Club. We had a fun and interesting program to engage our guests! Our event began with champagne generously donated by Tõnu Toomepuu and a lunch enlivened with raffle drawings led by Marju Cabrera and Annika Karr and festive group singing led by exceptional accordionist Kaie Põhi Latterner.

After lunch, we began our formal program with a welcome from the president of the Estonian Society of Central Florida: Ms. Kersti Linask. Honoring the United States, we sang the Star Spangled Banner. Pastor Priit Rebane offered the invocation. Ms. Monika Orumaa Craig brought greetings from the Estonian American National Council (Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides (ERKÜ)). In a special tribute in memoriam, Anneliis Kuusik and Kaie Põhi Latterner presented the poem Võõrsil (A. Grenzstein Piirikivi). Together we combined our voices in Laul langenud kangelastele (K.E. Sööt and J. Aavik).

 

Our honored guest speaker this year visited us from the Estonian Embassy in Washington D.C. – Mrs. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission. Mrs. Tihhonova-Kreek’s message was inspiring: Estonia must continue to be focused on matters of national security; the support of Estonians both at home and abroad is essential to Estonia’s continuing prosperity. To read greetings from Estonia’s Prime Minister on the occasion of Estonia’s 98th Independence Day, please visit this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-vmg9Jn6mU&feature=youtu.behttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/iweun6dxhd5t3rr/AADuoKMTjCRLV0P0xDYC2MZ4a?dl=0 The singing of the Estonian national anthem concluded our formal program.

Then there was a surprise visit by the KFES talutütred, whose folkdance enchanted the audience with their spirited sharing of secrets and gossip. The dancers included Marju Cabrera, Triin Karr, Maare Kuuskvere, Anneliis Kuusik, Kersti Linask, and Lisa Mets. Kaie Põhi Latterner provided the music for the charming well-known Estonian folkdance.

More fun followed. All our guests took part in our program, “How well do you know Estonia? – Kas tunned maad, mis Peipsi rannalt käib Läänemere kaldale…” and we all learned more about our homeland. Every table represented a county or “maakond” in Estonia, with table decorations reflecting the county’s coat of arms, pictures and information. Ms. Geraldine Raja prepared the lovely floral arrangements.

 

To bring the festivities to an end, closing remarks were then given by Lisa A. Mets, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia, St. Petersburg, Florida. The theme of her remarks was a tribute to Eesti as a “vabariik” (free country). In closing, Ms. Mets thanked Ms. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, our guest speaker from the Estonian Embassy in the US; Arno and Evi Kallas from the Estonian National Association of South FLorida (LFEK), who drive annually from West Palm Beach to attend our celebration; and Ms. Kaie Põhi Latterner, the leader who organized our celebration, emceed the event, and provided our musical energy.

It was a great afternoon. On top of it all, we had lots of time to reminisce with old friends as well as to meet new ones here in warm, sunny Florida. If you plan to be in Florida in February 2017, please visit our website and accept our invitation to join us as we celebrate Estonia’s 99th Independence Day! If you are in Florida now, please continue to visit this website; we have activities planned in March and April before our summer hiatus.

 

 

Kesk Florida Eesti Seltsi (KFES) Eesti Vabariigi 98.a. Aastapäeva Tähistamine

Sel aastal tähistame Eesti Vabariigi 98. aastapäeva 20. veebruaril, 2016, Clearwater, Floridas. Nagu eelmistel aastatel toimub see ka sel aastal Countryside Country Club’is. Meil on põnev ja tore kava külalistele!

Meie aukülaline on eesti suursaatkonnast Ameerikas – lgp. pr. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, suursaatkonna asetäitja.

Tulge võtke osa meie programmist “Kas tunned maad, mis Peipsi rannalt käib Läänemere kaldale…” ja õppige meie kallist kodumaad paremini tundma!

Kavas on langenute mälestamine, loterii (palun tooge midagi loterii lauale), eesti muusikat, ühislalule, maitsev lõunasöök – saate kokku vanade ja uute sõpradega ilusas päikesepaistelises soojas Floridas! Tulge – ühtuge meiega, et austada meie kallist isamaad!

Kus: Countryside Country Club
Millal: laupäeval, 20. veebruaril, 2016 a. kell 11:00 e.l.
Reservatsioon: Maare Kuuskvere 941-795-6835 jaank@verizon.net
(vajalik) Lõunasöök: $35 (lapsed rohkem kui kolm aastat vana – $23)
3001 Countryside Boulevard, Clearwater, FL
Palun märkida tšekile Teie valik lõunasöögiks: kana või kala (basa)

Tšekk saata: (“Estonian Society of Central Florida” – hiljemalt 10. veebruariks!)
Anneliis Kuusik (kuusika09@aol.com; 860-810-3469)
7069 Key Haven Road, #505
Seminole, FL 33777-3856

Estonian Society of Central Florida Estonia’s 98th Independence Day Celebration

This year we are commemorating the 98th anniversary of Estonia’s Independence Day on Saturday, February 20th, 2016, in Clearwater, FL. As in previous years, the event will be held at the Countryside Country Club. We have a fun and interesting program to offer our guests!

Our honored guest speaker this year is from the Estonian Embassy in Washington D.C. – Mrs. Marki Tihhonova-Kreek, Deputy Chief of Mission.

Come take part in our program “How well do you know Estonia? – Kas tunned maad, mis Peipsi rannalt käib

Läänemere kaldale…” and learn more about our homeland. There will also be plenty of Estonian music and sing-a-long opportunities!

Our program also includes a fallen soldiers memorial, the ever popular lottery (please remember to bring a contribution to the lottery table), a tasty lunch and time to reminisce with old friends as well as to meet new ones here in warm, sunny Florida. Come join us to honor our homeland!

Where: Countryside Country Club
When: Saturday, February 20th, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
Reservations: Maare Kuuskvere 941-795-6835 jaank@verizon.net
(required) Lunch: $35 (children older than three years of age – $23)
3001 Countryside Boulevard, Clearwater, FL
Please mark your choice for lunch on your check: chicken or fish (basa)

Send checks to: (“Estonian Society of Central Florida” – no later than February 10th)
Anneliis Kuusik (kuusika09@aol.com; 860-810-3469)
7069 Key Haven Road, #505
Seminole, FL 33777-3856

Nearly 45 members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts (KFES)) gathered together today at 2:00 pm, Sunday, January 3, 2016, to inaugurate their First Annual Eesti Supi ja Võileiva Lõunasöök (Estonian Soup and Sandwich Luncheon). This brainchild of KFES members Kaie Põhi Latterner and Anneliis Kuusik was a big hit among all the members. The location was the community room at the Seminole Isles condominium complex (Seminole, FL) that recently became home to Anneliis Kuusik and her mother Linia Elmend. What a fabulous location this was!

While this luncheon was a potluck, it had one caveat: Everything everyone brought had to be prepared according to traditional Estonian recipes. (Well, OK, the wine was from California.) And what a feast there was! This description will only touch on some of the specialties on the table; there isn’t enough room here to mention everything. Host Kaie Põhi Latterner and her husband Steve and their friend Tina Kõiva prepared frikadelli supp. Anneliis and her mother Linia and their friend Tiiu Messner prepared herne supp. Kaie and Tina also made kapsa pirukas and Kaie made her famous kohupiima kook. Members’ sandwiches were made with herring, salmon, smoked fish, ham, juust (cheese), and vorst (salami). There were liha pirukad and a porgandi pirukas. We also filled our plates with rosolje, kartulisalat, ja taidetud munad. Dessert with Kaie’s kohupiima kook included an õuna kook and an amazing torte that looked like a Napoleon torte only it was made with layers of Russian tea cookies and greek yogurt. There was also room for Kalev chocolates on the table.

In between multiple visits to the delicious smorgasbord table and delightful conversations, we engaged in a rousing songfest led by Kaie on the accordion. Our laululeht included all our favorites: Kaugel, Kaugel; Mu Isamaa Armas; Viljandi Paadimees; Meie Koome Kangast; Kõik Maailma Uhked Roosid; Laurentius; Mulgimaal Ella Hää; Mets Mühiseb; Ma Tahaksin Kodus Olla; Kungla Rahvas; Vändra Metsas; ja Ma Vaatsin Paadist Kiikriga. If you don’t remember the words or the melodies, we invite you to join us when we gather next to celebrate Vabariigi Aastapaev (Estonian Independence Day) on February 20, 2016. Information about that event is posted on this website.

The Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) extends a HUGE thank-you to everyone who participated today and especially to Kaie and her husband Steve and Anneliis and her mother Linia and their very special friends Tiiu and Tina (on holiday from the northeast) who made this afternoon possible. Kaie, Steve, Anneliis, Linia, Tiiu and Tina took care of all local arrangements and served as cooks, hosts, and entertainers. We are so glad Kaie and Steve and Anneliis and Linia chose to relocate to St. Petersburg and join the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts). They have greatly invigorated our association’s heart and soul. Veel kord suur, suur tänu!

Jõuluvana and his special päkapikk, Kaie Latterner (2013).

Jõuluvana and his special päkapikk, Kaie Latterner.

Have you been good this year? Jõuluvana (Santa) knew who’s been naughty and nice! Forty members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) hosted our Christmas celebration on Sunday, December 13, 2015, at the Magnuson Hotel at Marina Cove (6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane, St. Petersburg, FL; telephone: 727-867-1151). Jõuluvana and his very musically talented Päkapikk (Elf) led us in merriment. Members came prepared with songs, poems and other entertainment to earn their gifts.

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