Scandinavian Folk Festival Begins Friday

The Scandinavian Folk Festival is the place for our community and its many Swedish citizens to celebrate. The Festival will be held at the Gerry Rodeo Grounds. Pictures are from a past Folk Festival. Submitted photo

An article in The Post-Journal reported that in 1920, there were 11,415 foreign born citizens in the City of Jamestown. Of this group, 6,989, or 61.2 percent of the total, were born in Sweden. The next largest group at that time were Italians who numbered 1,807. By the 1920s the wave of people leaving Sweden had begun to wane. Jamestown’s Swedish citizens became part of the community and now are two to four generations removed from their emigrant ancestors. Jamestown has a significant Swedish heritage.

The Scandinavian Folk Festival is the place for our community and its many Swedish citizens to celebrate. The Festival will be held at the Gerry Rodeo Grounds. On Friday, the hours are 1-9 p.m. The hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year, paying a gate fee on one day, provides free admission for the remaining days of the Festival. The adult gate fee on Friday is $10 but is also good for Saturday and Sunday. The adult gate fee on Saturday is also $10 and is also good for Sunday. The gate fee on Sunday is $5. Children 12 and under are free. There is a family maximum of $20. Parking is free.

The Entertainment Showcase on both Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. is this year’s main highlight. On Friday there will be over 50 performers and on Saturday over 60. Dennis Webster will introduce the many acts of this extravaganza. Included will be wooden horns as well as a brass horn quintet, several fiddle players, Gary Kindberg singing a duet with a recording of his father Gunnard Kindberg, folk dancing, a bagpipe tribute to Norm Owen, two folk bands, and much more. Saturday’s Showcase will include Razz and Friends as well as another 15 member surprise band.

Featured performers are Peter Puma Hedlund from Sweden who is a world champion nyckelharpa player and the group Tants Muziky from Canton, Ohio who play folk and medieval music. On Sunday at 2 p.m. the Jamestown Municipal Band will perform a concert of Scandinavian music.

The traditional Midsummer procession and community ring dancing around the Midsummer pole will be Saturday at 11 a.m. Bring some wild flowers in honor of your Swedish ancestors to help decorate the pole at 10 a.m. The Finnish Wife Carrying Contest will begin Saturday at 3:30 with the female winning her weight in beer. New this year is a Scandinavian Trivia Contest, Saturday at 5:30, with the winning team receiving $100. This year’s cooking contest is the spritz cookie with a first prize of $75. The Kubb Tournament also begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. Vikings will be demonstrating axe throwing, spinning, wire working, basket weaving and much more throughout the weekend.

Educational opportunities through an outstanding roster of lectures will be presented throughout the weekend. Topics include Swedish Castles, Vikings, Folk Costumes, Swedish Genealogy, Swedish Sirens of the Silver Screen, Swedish Language, Swedish Bakeries in Jamestown, and much more.

A new platter is available in the festival food area called “a little bit of everything.” One does not need to pick and choose, just try it all. Items can be purchased both individually or as a platter. Also available, will be Norm’s world famous korv burgers. Only on Sunday, one can begin the day with Swedish pancakes wrapped around lingonberries from Sweden.

Visit one of the three Festival markets — the Loppis (flea market), Hemsljdsbutik (handmade items) and the gift shop with many items on consignment and festival-themed items. Raffles offer great prizes including an original painting. Many other vendors from the east coast will also offer a wide variety of unique items.

Where else can one order lingonberry drink or pickled herring, have a Fika (coffee break with a sweet goodie), listen to the nyckelharpa, drink a Danish beer, dance around the midsummer pole, purchase a vintage Swedish item, watch a wife carrying contest, visit a Viking village, try chip carving, play the Viking game of Kubb, and visit with or watch other Swedish people? Only at the Scandinavian Folk Festival’s celebration of the Scandinavian culture.

For all the schedules and details, visit or call 665-0883. Behold Scandinavia at this year’s cultural celebration.