DECORAH — Expect Vikings, folk artists, Norwegian waffles, Nordic roots music and more during Decorah’s 52nd annual Nordic Fest Thursday through Saturday.
The festivities kick off with opening ceremonies at 6:45 p.m. Thursday in Courthouse Square. Enjoy a presentation of flags, opening remarks, singing of the United States and Norwegian national anthems and entertainment by performers such as Nordic Dancers and Luren Singers.
Festival highlights include:
Arts & Crafts Center
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; Decorah Middle School
A main event of Nordic Fest since 1974, the Arts & Craft Center is bustling with activity with 30-plus artisans from the region. You’ll find Scandinavian-themed wooden figurines, ceramic, fabric and wood gnomes, Hardanger embroidery, rosemaling art, Nordic folk art, Norwegian needle craft, American Girl doll clothes, jewelry, soaps and lotions, fabric quilted runners, fabric wall art, machine embroidery and more.
10:30 a.m. Saturday; downtown
Bring your lawn chairs and find the perfect spot along Water Street in downtown Decorah. Enjoy an old-fashioned, small-town parade filled with music, treats, floats, firetrucks and more.
2 p.m. Saturday, Hotel Winneshiek
A staple event at Nordic Fest since 1973, the Bunad Show enables Festers to experience the diversity of traditional Norwegian folk costumes. Marvel at the intricate handiwork and rich history of these unique clothes worn by volunteer models.
Skjaldborg, a re-enactment group from Elk Horn, will set up their Viking encampment to show how Vikings lived. The group will entertain with full-combat demonstrations throughout Friday and Saturday.
Vesterheim’s activities will include “The National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibition,” folk-art demonstrations and sales, performances, special guests and more. The museum and heritage center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with free admission on Thursday, and special events all day on Friday and Saturday. Visitors can enjoy this exceptional exhibition of knifemaking, rosemaling, weaving and woodworking by some of the best contemporary American artists. Many of the pieces will be for sale by silent auction.
Norway’s Stine Aasland, the “Waffle Queen,” and her company Nordic Waffles will be selling waffles on Water Street by the museum. Nordic waffles are different from American and Belgian waffles and resemble the texture of a crêpe. A meal in themselves, they will be served with sweet or savory toppings.
Living Heritage demonstrations The museum’s Open Air Division will come to life with Living Heritage Demonstrators from Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin. Watch experts at blacksmithing, spoon and beam carving, knifemaking and leatherwork, stave container construction and decoration and jewelry making.
10 p.m. Saturday, athletic fields near City Hall
Bring lawn chairs or a blanket and settle down for amazing fireworks display along the Upper Iowa River.
For a complete schedule of Nordic Fest events, go to www.nordicfest.com.