2019 Scandinavian Festival

(click here for vendor and exhibitor information and forms)

Saturday, March 30, 2019
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Scottish Rite Masonic Center
6151 H St, Sacramento, CA 95819


All Day funfilled with Flag Ceremony, Food, Dancing and Vendors with Scandinavian merchandise



History of the Scandinavian Festival of Sacramento

The Scandinavian Festival was born out of the participation in the Sacramento Camellia Festival by the Danish - the Dania Club, Finnish - the Finlandia Club, Norwegian - Sons of Norway and Swedish - Monitor Lodge.  Monitor Lodge and the Sons of Norway had already been involved with floats in the Camellia Festival Parade when the International Friendship Luncheon was started as a part of the Camellia Festival in 1961 with about 16 countries involved.  Each nation was encouraged to host a Luncheon at some time and the Scandinavians banded together to be hosts in 1963.  It was a very popular event and a two year advance bid was the normal as it took two years of planning.  In 1983 a bid was submitted and accepted for the Scandinavians to be hosts in 1985. The luncheon had grown greatly in size and cost, so a fund raising event became a necessity.  A meeting was scheduled at the home of Ruth and Arlie Veis in May 1983.  There were six people from three Scandinavian lodges represented, Norris and Virginia Nepstead and Cynthia Thomas from the Sons of Norway, Dell Holkko of the Finnish Club and Ruth and Arlie Veis from the Swedish Monitor Lodge.  Arlie was elected Chairman and Norris, Vice Chairman.  Hans and Nora Mathiesen from the Danish Lodge joined at the next meeting and Nora was elected Secretary. The committee had to move rapidly to decide on a plan.  The idea of a Scandinavian Festival along the lines of the Greek Festival was suggested by Cynthia Thomas and was adopted.

At the second meeting a set of by-laws was adopted and thus the Scandinavian Festival was officially conceived and the official name was "Scandinavian Festival Association of Sacramento".  The first chairman, Arlie Veis served in that capacity for 8 years when Ellen Harrod took over and served for 9 years, followed in later years by Elizabeth Swenson and Gail Nemy.  There were two main purposes as set forth at our first meetings.  First and foremost was to promote and expand the Scandinavian presence in the community and to finance the Festival so it could be an annual event and of course to finance the International Luncheon that year.

The first festival was held at the Fruitridge Community Center in the south area.  A rental of $175 was paid and the date of April 8, 1983 was set aside.  Table rentals for vendors (of mostly Scandinavian artifacts) were $10 each and if two vendors wanted to share it was $15.  Baked goods were provided from all the lodges and "on-site" sandwiches, Swedish pancakes and Danish aebleskiver were made until supplies and batter ran out and workers were exhausted.  Entertainment was provided by a Finnish couple, Ila Tilija and her partner Drew Herzig, who did a number of Finnish and other Scandinavian dances in their colorful authentic Finnish costumes complete with headdress and caribou-skin boots.  Singing and Swedish dances were performed by Ruth and Arlie Veis in Swedish costumes.  The event was so successful it was decided to continue the next year -- and the next --- until the present date.

The Fruitridge Center became too small due to increased attendance and more vendors.  It was moved to the Board of Realtors on Howe Ave in 1987 where it resided until 1992  A better kitchen and larger hall (again) was found at St. John Vianney Church on Coloma Road.  From there it moved to St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Arden Way from 1994 through 2008.  It was moved again in 2009 to the Divine Savior Catholic Church on Greenback Lane.  The Festival moved again in 2017 to the Scottish Rite Masonic Center near the California State University – Sacramento campus.  The best years in terms of attendance were at the Board of Realtors on Howe Avenue.  In 1987 there were approximately 900 attendees and in 1988 over 1000.  Attendance, which dropped to the 600 range for many years, has returned to the 700-800 range in more recent times as the Festival committee has leveraged social media to increase attendance and spread the cultural “word” in the community.

Entertainment has varied over the years with the Nordahl Grieg dancers from Walnut Creek, a dance group from San Jose, accordionist Roy Meyer and pianist Ellen Byers, Monitor Valley Vasa Singers led by Marianne Ek, and more recently the Eldorado Hills Folk Dancers and various other instrumentalists.

The presentation of the flags with the singing of each national anthem for each nation in their native tongue has been a tradition from the beginning. The American flag has been presented by the Boy Scouts, representatives of the National Guard and various dignitaries.  The Counsels General of each country have attended at various times and presented greetings from their home nation.

For the first two years (1983 and 1984) the net proceeds went to finance the '85 International Luncheon.  After 1984 the net proceeds have been split between the participating lodges who have shared in the work involved in hosting the Festival.  Attendance started (which was free the first year) at about 300 people and progressed to over 1000 several times.  It has been the practice of participating lodges to use their share of the net proceeds to make donations to a charity of their choice in appreciation of the public support it has received, provide funding for scholarships for deserving high school, college and vocational school students and/or funding Scandinavian presentations at other cultural and civic events in the Greater Sacramento area.

Last updated 07-11-2018

  • Please join us for

     “Fika and conversation”

    Friday, March 6th, 2020

    Monitor Lodge 218 at IOOF Hall

    1831 Howe Ave, Sacramento, CA 95825

     6:30 pm  -  Social hour

    Please note we are starting an hour later than normal and please bring your Swedish cookies, cake or pastries to share

    7:00 pm  -  Short business meeting:

    7:30 pm  -  Cultural presentation starts

    Transport of Swedish ore during WWII”

    presented by Brian Horsfield”

    Legos will be available for the kids and the young at heart 

    We will be using our telephone tree to get a head count but please call or text Meribeth Bean at cell (916) 995-4965 or

    Chuck Johnson at cell (916) 501-9256 if you don’t get a call and you plan to attend.  Email also OK (chuckj50@surewest.net)



    Please join us for our

    108th Anniversary Celebration and Lunch – Saturday, March 14, 2020

    Member Anniversary Pin Recognition - Raffles -  Silent  Auction - Music
    DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 2001 Point West Way

    Complimentary Parking, bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.


    Please be aware that we are holding our anniversary luncheon a month early because April 2020 is a very busy month for Monitor Lodge as we not only have the Scandinavian Festival on April 18th but we are also the host lodge (along with Sierra Kronan) for this year’s Golden Gate District #12 convention being held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Sacramento.

    If you have questions, please call or text:

    Chuck Johnson, Chairman – (916) 501-9256 Ed Netzel, Vice Chairman - )916) 416-1144

    Yvonne Magneheim, Recording Secretary – (916) 801-7580

    Tack så mycket

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