Scandinavian Folk Festival Returns To Gerry

David Sally and Brian Newman practice throwing knives and axes at targets inside the "Viking Village," during the Scandinavian Folk Festival in Gerry on Friday.

GERRY — For the 16th year, the Scandinavian Folk Festival has arrived at the Gerry Rodeo Grounds.

On Friday, tents lined the grassy area with various items for sale, most of which in the spirit of Scandinavian culture. This is precisely in line with how Festival Coordinator Don Sandy has described what the annual festival all about.

“This is all about celebrating the Scandinavian culture,” Sandy said.

Preservation of Scandinavian culture is the festival’s emphasis, Sandy said, noting a vast amount of Jamestown’s population has roots in Scandinavian ancestry.

“We estimate that more than half the people who live in Jamestown have a Scandinavian ancestor and Jamestown was a destination for Swedes, particularly coming in from the 1860s to the 1920s,” Sandy said. “Most of the people now are the third of fourth generation from that (time period) and so generation after generation the culture gets diluted.”

A "Dala" horse, representative of Scandinavian culture, sits inside the Scandinavian Folk Festival.

Sandy expressed his gratitude for the event, and despite all the work, said he will miss the festival on Monday when everyone is gone. “This is a way for people to reestablish those roots,” Sandy said.

Inside the Market Tent, which comprises three separate booths, have numerous items for sale. One booth was designated as the gift shop; the second booth had handmade Scandinavian-related items; and the third was the loppis booth, which means flea market.

Sandy said the “loppis” booth consists of items that Scandinavian descendants are getting rid of.

“A lot of Swedes, maybe, are getting rid of some of their items,” Sandy said. “(Their Grandparents) used to have a lot of Swedish stuff but now the younger kids don’t want all that stuff. Heaven forbid I want everything of my grandparents but not everybody is that way.”

Everything that is sold or showcased at the festival must be related to Scandinavian culture. For example, Sandy said a random sunglasses vendor wouldn’t be necessarily be allowed to participate in the festival.

See tomorrow’s edition of The Post-Journal for complete coverage.