Rockford’s Swedish Historical Society will present its annual Midsummer Festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 14, on the grounds of Erlander Home Museum, 404 S. Third St., Rockford. Admission is free. A Midsommar Natt celebration will follow from 6 to 9 p.m.
This traditional Swedish festival, which is celebrated worldwide, welcomes the arrival of the summer solstice. The local celebration is now in its 75th year.
Midsummer festivities will be celebrated rain or shine. Organizers have dramatically changed the festival this year with new events and activities intended to embrace the community’s Nordic heritage and involve guests and participants more intimately in the celebration.
Visitors can enjoy the magic of summer by stepping into a quaint Nordic village, featuring Mormor’s Attic, Blackhawk Wood Carvers, blacksmithing and an abundance of artisans’ shops in the “Marknad.”
Swedish pancakes, meatballs, herring, open-faced sandwiches and korv o mos (hot dog and mashed potatoes) from Stockholm Inn, strawberries and ice cream, baked goods and other treats from several local vendors will be served.
The Erlander Home Museum will be open for tours throughout the day.
Visitors are also encouraged to enter raffles that promise wonderful prizes. Ice cream and pancake eating contests and other fun games will also be included.
As always, there will be music and dancing with Rockford’s own Ernie Sandquist, the Swedish Folk dancers, Spelmanslag a Scandinavin Folk Dance band, Nordic Dancers of Chicago, and entertainment by Michael Beert from Rockford Symphony Orchestra. Visitors will be given the opportunity to join the dancers and learn a few steps while dancing around the Maypole (Majstangen) at noon.
The festival will also feature a children’s area with crafts, story-telling and games, including the Viking yard game, KUBB. Andy Linder Hacky, world champion Hacky-Sack footbag, will be demonstrating his knack. Throughout the day, visitors will be able to meet Pippi Longstocking and mingle with residents in Swedish costumes, adding to the flavor of Midsommarafton.
A new addition to the Midsummer activates is the evening program, “Midsommar Natt.” Visitors are invited to continue the celebration between 6 and 9 p.m. Live music will include Rockford’s very own famous Swede, Miles Nielsen, and his band. Prairie Street Brewhouse will be brewing a special Nordic beer for this occasion, Artale Wine Co. will be around for a fun Aquavit and Schnapps tasting, and plenty of food vendors will be around for late munchies. Lots of fun is promised for this very special evening.
The Swedish Historical Society of Rockford was established in 1938 by a group from Rockford after visiting the 300th anniversary of the arrival of Swedes in North America. This celebration was held in Delaware, where once there was a Swedish colony. The society was formed Jan. 31, 1939, and incorporated in Illinois as a not-for-profit corporation Nov. 29, 1950.
The Swedish Historical Society is organized exclusively for historical, educational, and charitable purposes. In harmony with this purpose is the operation of the Erlander Home Museum and the preservation of Swedish-American history and culture of Rockford through such activities as the conservation of artifacts, museum displays and educational programs.
The historic home is sited on the National Register and can be toured Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m., or by calling the museum at (815) 963-5559 for appointments. Suggested donation is $5 or more.
Visit www.swedishhistorical.org and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/events/136148049904148/ for more information.
From the June 11-17, 2014, issue