FARGO — More than a week in advance, Marit Hordvik had her outfit picked out for this Thursday, June 24.

The Fargo woman will be sporting her Norwegian flag skirt as she works at Taste of Scandinavia at the Sons of Norway, 722 Second Ave. N.

Hordvik, the president of the Nordic Culture Clubs and also president of the Daughters of Norway, has been looking forward to Thursday since April when the annual Scandinavian Hjemkomst & Midwest Viking Festival, held every June at Moorhead’s Hjemkomst Center, was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday’s Taste of Scandinavia will be like, well, a sample of what could have been.

“It’s a little like the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival without the vendors,” she says.

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From 2-8 p.m., the event will feature a variety of foods from different Scandinavian cultures that visitors can purchase a la carte.

From buttery baked goods to pickled and smoked fishes and an array of breads and creamy dishes, there will be lots to savor, she says.

Buttery baked goods will be an attraction at Thursday's Taste of Scandinavia. Special to The Forum
Buttery baked goods will be an attraction at Thursday's Taste of Scandinavia. Special to The Forum

“It’s kind of fun to try different things,” she says.

A separate Finnish dinner, featuring ring bologna, potatoes in butter sauce, Finnish breads, rhubarb sauce dessert and green beans, is scheduled from 4:30-8 p.m. for $8.

Food isn’t the only thing on the menu that day. There will be a silent auction as well as an online auction running all week.

From 3-3:30 p.m. Tuula Kube will be speaking Finnish, and from 5-6 p.m. participants from the Soiva Music Camp will perform traditional Scandinavian music.

Proceeds will help fund the Scandinavian Festival which will feature more vendors and educational booths, held Oct. 9 at the El Zagal Shrine.

Hordvik says it was important to have events this year after so many were canceled due to the pandemic last year.

“We still want to have a presence in the community,” Hordvik says, adding that the Scandinavian Festival started four decades ago. “It’s been a part of the community for so long. There’s such great heritage here. It’s important for generations to see the reason we eat lefse at Christmas is because our ancestors ate it coming over on boats. It’s a good chance to learn something new and try something new.”

Gravlax, cured salmon and dill served on a thin piece of brown bread, will be available at Taste of Scandinavia. Special to The Forum
Gravlax, cured salmon and dill served on a thin piece of brown bread, will be available at Taste of Scandinavia. Special to The Forum

Maintaining interest

Maintaining that interest in cultural events is important as she sees others struggling. The final Nisswa (Minn.) Stämman, which celebrated traditional Scandinavian music, was held online earlier this month.

In April, it was announced that Norsk Høstfest, held every fall in Minot, N.D., would be canceled for the second year in a row due to concerns and logistical impacts regarding travel due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Hordvik wonders if it will ever be held again.

“I think it will be difficult to have Høstfest after two years come back,” she says.

She’s not even sure the Scandinavian Festival will return to Moorhead and the Hjemkomst in 2022, saying the addition of the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre to the building leaves less room for a bigger festival.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to go back to the Hjemkomst. I don’t think they’ll have room for vendors,” she says.

“I don’t think that’s true,” says Maureen Kelly Jonason, executive director of the Historic and Cultural Society of Clay County. “The city is very interested in making Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival happen.”

Vínarterta is an Icelandic celebration cake featuring layers of fruit filling. Special to The Forum
Vínarterta is an Icelandic celebration cake featuring layers of fruit filling. Special to The Forum

The HCSCC operates in the Hjemkomst Center and handles programming there, including festivals.

While the addition of the FMCT to the Hjemkomst has taken up a major gallery space, Kelly Jonason says there is still plenty of room for indoor aspects of the festival.

“We’re still planning on it happening (in 2022),” she says.

“There is no solid yes or no on that yet,” says Alisa Jacobson, director of the Nordic Culture Clubs. “There have been a lot of changes to the Hjemkomst Center and we are working to see if we can adjust to the changes for 2022.”

Jacobson says the Nordic Culture Club has been too busy planning this year’s events to look at next summer’s festival.

If you go

What: Taste of Scandinavia

When: 2-8 p.m. Thursday, June 24

Where: Sons of Norway, 722 Second Ave. N., Fargo

Info: Admission is free, food is a la carte; Finnish dinner from 4:30-8 p.m. for $8