Little Norway Festival Wrap-up

It’s hard to imagine so much Norwegian-ness packed into one weekend, but this town is really up to the task.  Petersburg’s Norwegian exchange student and her family keep saying how much more Norwegian we are here compared to Norway.  Our town is steeped in traditions while Norway has become more westernized, and the Norwegians enjoy seeing their culture and customs celebrated so much here.

Last Saturday started with the Lil’ Fisk Derby for young anglers, and our dock was crowded with short people in life jackets hoping to win a prize despite the handicap of short attention spans.  They were adorable.20150516 5436 little fisherman rHerring and smelt were caught with bare hooks, and this fellow caught a nice little Dolly Varden trout.20150516 5456 young fisherman rMeanwhile people were lining up to get into the Kaffe Hus at the Sons of Norway hall, where we could sample all kinds of open faced sandwiches, cookies, pastries, and cakes.  The line was quite long, but we had some nice musical entertainment to distract us.  I was admiring the Norwegian sweater worn by the gal in front of us in line, and I found out that it was made by her mother – who was busy playing the accordion for us.20150516 5446 kaffe hus musician r It was hard to choose among the treats, all hand-made.  Butter features prominently in Norwegian cooking, as well as the spice cardamom.  Everything was as beautiful as it was delicious!20150516 5451 kaffe hus r20150516 5467 governor walker rWe headed back to the boat to recover for a while, then headed to the next event – the Pageant.  We had VIP guests in attendance – Alaska’s Governor and Lt. Governor and their spouses were in town to dedicate the new drive-down dock in the harbor.  The Governor was embarrassed to admit that it was his first time in Petersburg.  When he mentioned that he will be hosting the King of Norway next month up in Anchorage he said that he realized his mistake – Petersburg would have been a MUCH better choice.

The Pageant was lovely – we had entertainment from the young Norwegian dance troupe in three groups: 1st and 2nd graders, then 3rd and 4th graders, then the 5th-8th graders.  It’s so heartwarming to see so many young people in town participating in all these cultural activities – boys as well as girls.20150516 5470 pageant heidi and dancers rYou might notice the vikings and valkyries sitting in the bleachers – they were very well behaved and didn’t try to pillage anything while the youngsters danced.  A few of them even came down and participated in a dance or two.

No Pageant would be complete without joining together in song – first the “I Love Humpback Salmon” song, followed by the “Alaska’s Flag” state song.  As new Alaskans, it was pretty neat to sing the state song standing a few feet from the Governor, surrounded by our new friends from town.

I’ll share the lyrics of the salmon song with you – feel free to sing along, loud and proud.

“I love humpback salmon, Good ‘ol humpback salmon, Caught by the Norske fishermen.  I like shrimp and shellfish, They sure do make a swell dish, I think the halibut is grand!  I don’t like T-bone steak, Cut from a steer in Texas, But give me fish!  And I don’t give a damn, If I do pay taxes!  I like humpback salmon, Good ‘ol humpback salmon, Caught by the Norske fishermen!”20150516 5496 fishermens memorial rI sang the song, despite the fact that I can’t stand to eat seafood of any kind.  It makes pot-luck dinners and dinner parties a little more challenging to attend here, but it’s fine.

We enjoyed a concert from a jazz group brought in for the Festival, and wrapped up the weekend with a little open house for our local friends.  It’s time to go cruising now, though we’ve found Petersburg to be a very sticky place – hard to leave.

Thanks to all the vikings, valkyries, and the bunad-wearing models and dancers – it was a memorable Festival!20150515 5297 viking and bunader r


Little Norway Festival Parade

20150515 5305 temsco helicopter and flags rThere were so many characters and interesting sights that the Little Norway Festival Parade deserves its own post.  The weather was perfect for the afternoon’s event, kicked off by the Temsco helicopter flying over the Narrows with the American and Norwegian flags as the parade participants lined up.  A color guard from our local Coast Guard station led the way, with fire trucks, a police car, and members of the volunteer search & rescue crew following right behind.

Nordic Drive was lined with people, many who live here now or had at some point – much like a Coming Home Parade in Canadian towns.  There were tourists enjoying the sights as well, but our overall feeling is that the Festival is put on by the town, for the town.

The Sons of Norway lodge members still wearing their beautiful bunader paraded along…20150515 5345 parade sons of norway r…followed by the youngsters from the traditional dancing troupe.20150515 5323 parade young dancers rIn stark contrast to the traditional costumes, the Viking ship followed, full of Vikings and Valkyries… big and small.20150515 5340 viking ship on parade r20150515 5336 viking boat captain r20150515 5334 vikings big and small r

20150515 5398 parade littlest viking rDon’t let those dimples fool you… I’ll bet that little guy can pillage with the best of them!

The Native Alaskans were represented by members of the ANB and ANS, resplendent in their button blankets and carved headgear…20150515 5356 parade anb mom and baby rAnd we howled with laughter at the antics of the Alaska Airlines dancing plane – that little plane had some awesome moves!20150515 5382 parade dancing plane 1 rSmokey the Bear and a big sockeye salmon visited with the crowd, thanks to the US Forest Service (a big employer in town).20150515 5364 parade big salmon rImmediately following the parade the annual herring toss was in full swing, with fish flying far and high as the competition heated up.  Meanwhile Jim channeled his “inner viking”…20150515 5283 channeling your inner viking r…while other vikings ran around town, wreaking havoc and dragging people off to the viking jail.  20150515 5406 chief viking closeup rAnd remember – you’re never too old to celebrate your viking-ness.20150515 5289 old viking rThere’s still a little bit more of the Little Norway Festival to share, in the next post.