Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame announces 2022 honorees

Submitted Photo Matthew and Gunnar Nelson.

The leader of the National Nordic Museum and multi-platinum singer-songwriters will be added to the honor roll of the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame at an awards banquet Sept. 27 at Minot’s Grand Hotel.

Held in conjunction with Norsk Hostfest, the SAHF honors persons of Scandinavian descent who have achieved greatness in their field and bestows other special awards when warranted.

Eric Nelson has overseen the expansion and rise to prominence of the National Nordic Museum in Seattle since assuming the executive director and CEO position in 2008. Along with growing the museum’s influence, Nelson is active in promoting Scandinavian heritage, serving on the boards of the Swedish Council of America, the Icelandic American Chamber of Commerce, and the Seattle Reykjavik Sister City Association.

In 2019, Nelson was named Swedish American of the Year by the Swedish division of the Vasa Order of America. He was awarded the Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland and recipient of the 2020 Hazelius Medal in Gold, a distinction awarded by the Nordiska Foundation in Stockholm to individuals who have made significant contributions to Swedish cultural heritage. Nelson’s great- grandfather immigrated to the United States from Sweden in the late 1800s. Nelson will receive his award from Torleiv Opland, deputy chief of Mission of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson have music — and entertainment — in their blood. The twin brothers charted major hits in the 1990s when they were known as Nelson. They have since crafted a wildly-popular show honoring their father, the 1950s and 1960s teen idol Ricky Nelson. The tribute show features Ricky Nelson’s music and comments from musical greats, including Paul McCartney and John Fogerty reflecting on the impact of Ricky Nelson on the music industry and the culture in general.

Eric Nelson

The Nelsons’ roots in entertainment go beyond their father. Their grandparents, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, were top-flight musicians and actors through the 1930s and 1940s before becoming household names, starring in the television sitcom, “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet,” beginning in 1952. The brothers, of Swedish descent, will be presented their award by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and musician/producer Tommy Vee.

The SAHF Annual Awards Banquet begins with a Governor’s Reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and program at 7 p.m. Tickets are $80 per person and available online at hostfest.com or by calling 852-2368.


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