A taste of home
Bob Ronken paused as accordion melodies glided through the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center in Moorhead. "I know all these songs," the 77-year-old smiled as a folk tune called "Nidelden" played, reminding the retired Concordia College profe...
Bob Ronken paused as accordion melodies glided through the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center in Moorhead.
"I know all these songs," the 77-year-old smiled as a folk tune called "Nidelden" played, reminding the retired Concordia College professor of time spent in Norway.
Hundreds of Red River Valley Scandinavians such as Ronken gathered at the center Saturday to celebrate Nordic cultures with food, music and a silent auction featuring art and homespun crafts.
The Fourth Annual Nordic Gala honored the music of 19th-century Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg and served as a fundraiser for the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival in June.
Throughout the evening, those in attendance nibbled on smoked salmon, Jarlsberg cheese, pickled beets and traditional meatballs. Norway's signature potato bread - lefse - was in abundance, as were stacks of treats such as almond cake and lingonberries with whipped cream.
Moorhead native Karin Joy Andreasen entertained the crowd with violin solos, including works by Grieg.
The gala has grown since its inception, said Claudia Pratt, executive director of the region's Nordic Culture Clubs and gala organizer.
"It gives us a chance to showcase Scandinavian heritage and celebrate in the dead of winter," said Pratt, noting she hoped the evening would garner $5,000 for the festival.
Ronken, who lived in Norway for three years and has visited the country 15 times, said he enjoyed Saturday's festivities. An original member of the center's board of directors, Ronken knew Red River Valley native Robert Asp and most of the crew that sailed across Lake Superior and the Atlantic Ocean to Norway in 1982.
That history, as well as the refurbished roof hanging above the museum's iconic Viking ship, added ambience to the evening for Ronken.
"I enjoy my Norwegian heritage. I do," he said. "I tell people, I hope you enjoy your heritage too, whatever it is."