It had been raining in New York City for days, if not weeks, and most Swedes and Swedish-Americans and their friends were holding their breath: Would the midsummer celebration in Battery Park go on as planned?
Then suddenly the sun came out, for Friday only, and what a lovely midsummer it became!
“I specifically asked for good weather,” said Brian G. Andersson, New York’s City’s Commissioner of the Department of Records and also this year’s Sweden Day Man of the Year. “And I don’t think anyone is having a better midsummer celebration than the one we have here now!”
It was a celebration just like the one you’d remember from childhood, sunshine and blue skies, warm weather, the glittering water, strawberries and herring, and flags and flower wreaths just about everywhere. Is there anything more beautiful than midsummer?
The choir from the Swedish Church “Sound of Sweden”, led by Kristina Sturk, sang “Den blomstertid nu kommer”, “Idas sommarvisa” and “Sommar, sommar, sommar”, there was traditional Swedish music by Daniel Dahlin and fiddlers from the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, and of course Jeanne Eriksson Widman Andersen entertained with songs and dances around the midsommarstången. Sweden’s Acting Consul General of New York, Alf Karlsson, welcomed everyone, and offered some encouraging words:
‘Will this be the last Midsummer Celebration in New York? I don’t think so. I am an optimist, I think there will be more.”
Young and old – all enjoyed the songs and dances, “Små grodorna”, “Prästens lilla kråka” and others, and there were several food stands offering traditional delicacies from New York’s finest Swedish restaurants and food purveyors. And hopefully the younger generations did not forget to pick seven (or is it nine?) flowers on their way home to put under the pillow and dream about their future spouse. Let the midsummer tradition continue!
Faces from Midsummer in New York City's Battery Park.