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Group photo. Märten Vaikmaa’s Jaanipäev with the Estonian Society of Central Florida on June 18, 2017 in Terra Ceia, Florida. Photo: Anné Phillips.


Märten Vaikmaa, his wife Sunne, and children Iti (12) and Uku (10), our newest parttime neighbors from Estonia, invited members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) to join their friends and neighbors in a fabulous Jaanipäeva celebration in their beautiful waterfront home in Terra Ceia, Florida, on Sunday afternoon, June 18, 2017.


We had sun, clouds and some raindrops, but the weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits!


A dozen members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida joined at least three dozen friends and neighbors of the Vaikmaa family. Interestingly, once again we proved this is a small world. Friends and acquaintances who had met in other settings in the past connected again at this wonderful gathering. Some of us had first met Sigrid Bratic at one of her highly popular My Little Greek Restaurant locations in St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was a real delight seeing her and her family again here! Some of the men had met each other spearfishing through the St. Petersburg Underwater Club. And there were myriad other ways other folks had met in the past too!


We dined on delicious BBQ, a wonderful Greek salad and pastries, and the tasty dishes guests contributed to the smorgasbord table. Children were especially welcome as this was a family friendly event. Lots of children and grown-ups too enjoyed the beautiful swimming pool. Märten Vaikmaa was in charge of the jaanituli (traditional bonfire). With a little help of lighter fluid on the moist wood, the fire took off. A live band performed all afternoon. At sunset, you could find couples dancing on the dock. The beautiful sunset also encouraged photography and romance.


The Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) extends a HUGE thank-you to the Vaikmaa family for their warm hospitality, this wonderful Jaanipäeva celebration, and the opportunity to establish new friendships. This was a very special day for the Tampa Bay Estonian community.


Lisa A. Mets


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