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Midsummer Festival expanded

Submitted Photos Scenes from previous Midsummer Festivals at the Scandinavian Heritage Park. This year’s event has been expanded and will be held June 18-20.

The Scandinvavian Heritage Association has held a Midsummer Festival for the past quarter century at the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot but this year it will be greatly expanded, said Kae Watson, one of the organizers of the event.

“We wanted to create an event which people could come to and not have to spend a lot of money,” said Watson, who said just about every activity during the three day festival to be held June 18-20 will be free except for food served by food trucks and the beer garden. “Nobody’s going to have to get nickeled and dimed.”

Watson said it’s clear how much people she’s talked with have been looking forward to just getting out and having some fun after a year of restrictions and cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s really coming together,” she said. “On our Facebook page, over 2,100 people have said they’re interested in coming.”

The board started planning the event in February, before they knew that this year’s Norsk Hostfest would have to be canceled, but Watson said she knows everyone will miss the Hostfest and the Midsummer Festival will give attendees a taste of some of the Scandinavian culture they have been missing.

Submitted Photos Scenes from previous Midsummer Festivals at the Scandinavian Heritage Park. This year’s event has been expanded and will be held June 18-20.

In past years, the Midsummer Festival was limited to a flag ceremony and an evening meal.

This festival will still include traditions like the Midsummer Parade and Flag Presentation, which will be held at 7 p.m. June 18 with appearances by Mayor Shaun Sipma and Scandinavian Heritage Association President Elizabeth Gjellstad, followed by the Minot City Band from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and “Abba Hour” with music presented by a DJ from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and root beer floats by the Sons of Norway. The group won’t know until just before the ceremony whether a burn ban in effect can be lifted to allow a planned bonfire to take place.

The food trucks and beer garden planned for June 18 and 19 are both new to the event and will replace the meal that was traditionally served. Another event for foodies will be the Swedish Coffee with the traditional seven bites, for $5, served between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on June 19 by the Swedish Society. Watson said it is traditional for Swedes to have seven types of food samples on their plates with coffee.

Also new is the lecture series that will be held on Saturday, June 19.

“We’re really, really excited about the lecture series,” said Watson, who said board members began approaching presenters beginning in February and had to explain that they wouldn’t be able to pay them anything to do a presentation. Nearly everyone the board asked agreed to volunteer their time and expertise for the event.

Tom Kalb, a horticulturalist from NDSU, will speak about the gardens that people might have had 100 years ago. Barb Solberg will speak about early Norwegian settlers in the Souris River Valley and Minot State University history professor Bethany Andreasen will speak about 19th century Scandinavian immigration. Mark Singer from Minot State will speak about the Vikings and the Mouse River Genealogy Society will help interested people trace their ancestry. Nancy Fry will speak about the history of quilting and Watson will give a lecture about the story of her great-grandmother, Johanna Carlotta Boo Norman.

Other special events during the festival on June 19 will include story times and crafts provided by the Minot Public Library along with a photo booth where people can have their pictures taken in front of a screen with their choice of Nordic backdrop, and a performance of Billy Goats Gruff by the Mouse River Players.

There will also be Viking items for sale from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

There will also be a service at the Gol Stave Church in the park with First Lutheran Church pastor Rev. Ellery Dykeman as pastor.

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