The Little Norway Festival schedule was packed with activities and events, and we exhausted ourselves trying to take advantage of as much as possible. At the same time, we’re getting ready to leave town for the summer, saying goodbye to friends in town and trying to get together with as many as possible for one last bit of fun. Our friend Bobby, a commercial fisherman, gave us some halibut cheeks – a super treat. (Although I don’t eat seafood, I can appreciate how much other people will enjoy it.) Just watching him expertly harvest the cheeks with his super-sharp knife was a treat.
We went on a muskeg walk with one of our Forest Service botanists – no matter how many times we go on something like this, we always learn new things. I love to see the fern leaves still curled tightly into “fiddles”, and some species of fern fiddles can be sauteed or pickled.
Not many plants were blooming just yet, though the bog laurel was getting started – so pretty when the blossom is open as well as when it’s still closed in it’s compact geometric dome.
The harbor was full of herring and smelt, so fishermen big and small were on the docks with buckets of wriggling dinner or bait. Smelt are preferred for dinner, herring for bait.
My 5 year old friend Mae is quite the fishergal, and she was working hard to get enough smelt for her parents and grandparents for dinner. These two little guys were also trying their hand at fishing… Eric was so proud of his herring (looking like a perfect Petersburg tyke in his Norwegian sweater and Xtratuf boots)…
…and his little brother was equally proud of his smelt.
Meanwhile, our next door neighbor boat, the CHARLES T, was celebrating her 100th birthday. She’s a wooden commercial fishing boat, still actively fishing today. She got a lot of attention at the boat yard to make sure she was looking her very best for the party.
Getting back to Norwegian-ness, a friend and I decided to take a 90 minute Rosemaling class to learn a few tricks of this distinctive decorative folk painting. We started with a pre-painted blank that had some lines drawn on it already, and a set of step-by-step pictures of what we needed to do.
I have no delusions about my painting ability, but it sure was fun to learn a little and to let the creative juices flow a bit.
Next up on the agenda was the “Guns and Hoses” competition between the local law enforcement (police, NOAA and our State Trooper – aka “guns”) and the fire department, EMTs and search & rescue (aka “hoses”) to see which team could pull a firetruck farther and faster. Last year “guns” won, and this year the “hoses” restored their honor.
We missed the strongman/strongwoman competition, but we attended the Roller Derby bout between Petersburg’s own Ragnarok Rollers and the visiting Sitka Sound Slayers, cheering for both sides in a great evening of action.
And if that wasn’t enough, we saw the Mitkof Mummer’s play – Millie Monka and the Salmon Cannery (hilarious), and visited the Sons of Norway’s famous “Kaffe Hus” for a sampling of traditional open faced sandwiches and sweet treats – made with butter and love, as we say!
To remind us about how much we rely on the Coast Guard to keep us safe, they brought over one of their helicopters from Air Station Sitka to perform a rescue demonstration out in the Narrows. One person was lowered down to be the “victim”, and after he released an orange smoke signal the helo swung back around and dropped a rescue swimmer to recover him. The tide was ebbing pretty briskly that afternoon, and both the “victim” and rescuer were swept out towards the Sound.
If you’re in trouble, there is no better sight than that orange and white helo coming for you!
Stay tuned for one more post about Little Norway… it’s just too much fun for one or two postings!