Return of the Scandinavian folk festival | News, Sports, Jobs



The image is of the Midsummer Pole Procession.

The Jamestown Scandinavian Folk Festival will take place this summer, after a two-year COVID hiatus, while moving to downtown Jamestown.

The festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday July 16 and 17, with the colorful flags of the five Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland – decorating downtown Jamestown. On Tuesday, July 12 at noon, Mayor Eddie Sundquist will proclaim Scandinavian Week and raise the Swedish flag in Tracy Plaza accompanied by Svenska Spelman and the Thule Swedish Folk Dancers.

The festival will have a new central location this year: the air-conditioned Northwest Arena. There will be no ice on the main rink, which will host stalls from vendors with their ranges of handmade and Scandinavian-themed items. There will also be traditional Swedish dishes including meatballs, rice pudding and cucumber salad, all home cooked by 3 C’s Catering. Norm’s world famous korvburgers will also be served with a choice of lingonberry topping. There will be servings of pickled herring as well as coffee, a lingonberry drink, Danish beer, wine and other Scandinavian treats, available throughout the weekend.

For kids of all ages, the rink will offer bumper car rides on ice as well as the chance to experience a hands-on introduction to the Nordic sport of curling. No ice skates are required to participate in the curling experience. Ice activities will take place on the ice rink adjacent to the main area.

Decorating and raising the summer mast will begin at 10 a.m. on July 16. Festival organizers will welcome residents and visitors who wish to participate, both by bringing fresh flowers and greenery from local fields and gardens, and by helping to decorate the flagpole. Jamestown Thule Swedish Folk Dancers will coordinate the activities, which will take place at the weekly Jamestown Public Market along Third Street near Cherry Street. The Scandinavian-themed Public Market will be specially expanded to accommodate musicians, dancers and the twenty-two-foot-long Midsummer Pole. Once decorated, the pole will be carried along Third Street, accompanied by musicians playing traditional Swedish tunes, to a location outside the arena. Here it will be raised, fixed firmly in place, and everyone will have the opportunity to join in the traditional Swedish dances. The Midsummer pole will remain in place for everyone’s pleasure. This is a free family event.

Alyssia Rodriguez, who will perform at the upcoming Scandinavian Folk Festival, is pictured.

Another popular festival event, the Viking ship will be back this year. The plan is to moor the 40ft Norseman at McCrea Point Park Landing before the festival on the morning of Friday July 15 and sail up the Chadakoin River to the Lakewood area in the early afternoon. The ship and her crew will be stationed on Lafayette Street over the weekend. The ship can be boarded with the opportunity to learn more about the Vikings from the crew.

Kubb’s old Viking games can be played on Lafayette Street and chess like the Hnefatafl board game inside the arena.

There will also be music and dancing. The Scandinavian music group Svenska Spelman, composed of violins, guitar/banjo, nyckelharpa and accordion, will play throughout the weekend. The Bonnie Loch Fiddlers will also perform, specializing in Swedish and Celtic music, but also performing traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland and the Nordic countries.

The Swedes have developed their own stringed instrument, a variant of the most famous violin. Called the nyckelharpa, it has seen a resurgence in recent years, attracting interest from players around the world. We invited Alyssa Rodriquez, a talented musician who studied in Finland on a Fulbright scholarship as well as with recognized riksspelman (master musicians) in Sweden to play this instrument. She will also give a lecture on her musical experience and the nyckelharpa. Additionally, Rodriguez will play his instrument at the First Lutheran Church Service on Sunday.

The accordion and percussion beats of Smorgasbandet will be featured during the festival, including a concert from 9-11 p.m. on July 16 at Shawbucks.

The Scandinavian horse is represented.

Throughout the weekend, Jamestown’s Gary Kindberg will delight audiences with familiar Swedish-American songs. In addition to his performances, Kindberg will lead a Swedish anthem in chorus on Sunday morning.

Swedish folk dancers from Jamestown Thule, whose dance tradition dates back to the early 1940s with favorites such as The Ox Dance, The Weaving Dance and Tre Karls Polska, will be back after a two-year COVID break. Performances will take place on Saturday and Sunday in the arena.

For quiz fans, there will be a Scandinavian quiz competition.

The Scandinavian Folk Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 16 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 17, centered around the Northwest Arena, 319 W. Third St., Jamestown. The festival is sponsored by the American Scandinavian Heritage Foundation. Admission is a $5 donation with children under 16 free. The Midsummer Pole decorating, procession and dancing takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 16, with free activities at the Jamestown Public Market. For festival guests, a $2 fee will be charged for bumper car rides on ice (must be at least 3 years old) and for introduction to the sport of curling.

Sponsors include the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the Statewide Community Regrant Program.

Smorgasbandet is depicted.

For more information or call 716-665-0883

Viking ship on Chautauqua Lake. Photos submitted

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