This post is all about a major influence in who I am today. Nordic Fest is a city-wide celebration in my hometown of Decorah, IA and just celebrated its 50th anniversary this past year! A dear friend of mine Dawn Svenson Holland is the author and researcher of this comprehensive history on what makes Decorah such a special place for locals and visitors from around the world including the Norwegian Royal Family! Really I am not joking, the royal family has visited Decorah many times!!!
The book is filled from front to back with photographs (some taken by me as a volunteer contributor) and stories about the beginnings of the fest and details that make Decorah a destination to revisit every year. The fest is held at the end of August and has authentic food, dancing, art, music, kids activities, competitions, and even a lutefisk eating contest! What's not to like? Ok the lutefisk isn't for everyone, but just grab some lefse instead.
Like I mentioned above and in my bio my family has deep Norwegian roots so this celebration has great meaning to me. Many family members are pictured throughout this book including my cousin Eric and uncle Dennis on page 194 as they competed in the triathlon. My uncle is the older guy who looks kind of crazy, he is competitive! My aunt Karla is on page 141 as a Nordic Dancer and her son Jason, my cousin, is on pages 252 and 253 as part of the Nordic Fest Board. My mother is also in the book on the very first page sitting as a little girl in her bunad made by her mother.
You can learn more about Nordic Fest here and purchase this treasured book from Vesterheim Museum while supplies last. I sure hope you do because you will certainly enjoy it!