Altona will see possibly the largest gathering of Finnish people in Australia after being selected to host the Finnish Festival at Easter.

Finland’s ambassador Lars Backstrom will open the three-day event, which celebrates 100 years of Finnish independence, at 10am on Good Friday, April 14.

The Melbourne Finnish Society’s Anneli Jortikka said festivities would centre around the community’s headquarters – Finnish Hall in Pier Street – as well as the Altona Theatre and nearby sports fields.

“It’s an annual event, and it’s hosted by a different city or Finnish club every year,” she said. “This year is important because Finland celebrates its 100 years of independence from Russia. It’s basically to keep the Finnish culture alive.

“One of the big things that we do is we play Finnish baseball – pesapallo – which is different to the American baseball,” she said.

There will also be competitions in log throwing, and even some comedy.

The broader community is being invited to join in the 51st Finnish Festival, by coming down to experience folk dancing from local and international troupes, along with traditional food and Finnish beer.