Winter. It’s coming. And like the members of the intrepid cooperative 612 Sauna Society, we’re getting excited for the cold outside and the inside dry heat—inside saunas. The organization behind the mobile sauna that makes an appearance at some of Twincy’s most fun winter events has completed their kickstarter to transition into a full-fledged organization with an even more epic and more mobile sauna experience.
Since we’re so fired up for the next iteration of their public sauna, and for their big party at Surly to celebrate their success, we checked in with Founding Board Member Teke O’Reilly.
Secrets of the City: We’re big fans of embracing the winter and new traditions that do so; how does the mobile sauna meld the old ways with our new northern winter traditions?
Teke O’Reilly: We like to call it the ‘urban sauna revival’, even though something like this hasn’t really existed before. We’re bringing Sauna back from the cabins and the north woods, and into the lives of city folk. By keeping it mobile, we make it surprising and available for everyone. We’re also making a huge push to create cross-community dialogue in the Sauna, as they so often do in Scandinavia. We want to facilitate change through empathy, and in today’s world, that’s certainly needed.
The “share the bench” co-op piece to the Sauna Society is intriguing; what’s that community piece mean to the group?
The Community piece means everything to the group. The personalities that show up are innately generous individuals, and they love to share the warmth, stories, and tradition with strangers and close friends alike. All of these people coming together make it possible to share with more and more people. Community is the secret sauce of the Sauna Society, and it has certainly taken on a life of its own.
What’s more important in sauna culture—conversation skills or ability to chill?
There will be epic stories, and there will be silence. One’s ability to chill and take it as it comes is essential to a good experience for everyone. It’s probably the least awkward context for your standard awkward Minnesotan.
How crazy is the Kickstarter goal party at Surly going to get?
On a scale of 1 to 11, we’re shooting for bananas.