2017 Scandinavian Festival

Saturday, August 19, 2017
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

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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 update:  03-07-2017

  • Please join us for

    “Potluck and Conversation”

    Friday, October 6, 2017

    Monitor Lodge 218 at IOOF Hall

    1831 Howe Ave, Sacramento,
    CA 95825

    5:30 pm - Social hour

    6:00 – Induction of new members

    6:30 pm - Dinner @ $10 per person
    or free if you bring a dish

    (see listing on reverse) Children under 12 free

    7:00 pm - Short business meeting
     – 2018 nominations
    7:30 pm - Cultural presentation starts

    You may not know Jack but you know Carl”

    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)

    Monitor’s October gathering will be
    enjoyed with good food, conversation
     and friendship. But it is also an important
     date as we are inducting three new
    members, catching up with invoice approvals
     and finalizing 2018 elected office nominations.
     That will be followed by a presentation
    about Carl Larsson – perhaps Sweden’s
     best known painter.

    The bar will be open at 5:30 for our
    social hour and during that time we will
     be setting out the dishes you bring for
     our potluck. Please bring enough food
    to serve 6-8 people. Please have your
     dish ready to serve so we just have to put
    it out on the appropriate table. Put your
     name on your plate or bowl so you get
     your dishes back at the end of the evening.

    You never know exactly what to expect
     for a potluck, but we’re hoping to get
     a good variety of Swedish foods. We’ve
     assigned members to bring food based
     on names/alphabet.

    Please bring enough to feed 6-8 of your
    fellow members.

    Theresa Alberts to Siw Gormley

    Side dishes such as salads, as appetizers,
    potato salad, deviled eggs, pickled
    herring, cheeses, crackers, etc

    Tariel Green to Erica Leaman

    Main dishes such as Swedish meatballs,
     ham, roast beef, pork, chicken, venison,
    wild boar, elg (moose), etc

    Yvonne Magneheim to Larry Woodward

    Desserts, traditional and modern Swedish
    and non Swedish

    tack så mycket!

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