This past weekend, Steve and I ventured to Stromsburg, NE with our daughter and granddaughter for the annual Swedish Festival. It is imperative for us to take this trek periodically in order to keep in touch with our heritage. The 1,600 residents of this quaint little town claim Stromsburg, the Swedish Capital of Nebraska. The festival commemorates the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
The festival always begins on Friday night, the third weekend of June since 1953, in the town square. The history is read, the "Swedish King and Queen" are chosen from the community and their court is introduced to all of us. The young Swedish dancers dance their hearts out around the May pole in the costumes made by their mothers and the official festivities have begun.
The festival has not changed much from when I began to attend some 43 years ago. Early on Saturday morning, the Methodist Church (they wouldn't dare trust the Lutherans with this task) serves "Swedish" pancakes. Let me tell you, they have nothing on the "pancake man" my children have met, in our neck of the woods. The tractor pulling contests, for all age groups, horseshoe pitching and soap box derby races.
While we were in town, we tasted Swedish cuisine and melted in the heat while eight year old Arieanna, road the carnival rides with her best friend, Grandpa. I'm not sure who had more fun, Steve or Arieanna, but I do know which one wanted to stop first and it wasn't the short person.
Steve was born in Stromsburg and lived there with his parents and two brothers until he left for college and married me. Steve's father, Stanton, was King of the festival in 1994 and his mother, Orpha, was the queen in 1983. My side of the family is also Swedish, so we both appreciate the food and hoopla that goes on in Stromsburg.
Thank you to all the volunteers who made this event a great success again this year. We respect them for their dedication to make memories for us and others in the community.
Tack sa mycket!