By Valorie Arrowsmith

Falls, Creek, WI—Students from colleges and universities in the upper midwest gathered for the 38th annual Scandinavian Retreat, sponsored by Norden Folk and held at the Beaver Creek Reserve near Eau Claire, WI. The program included academic lectures and discussions, Nordic films, ax throwing, wood carving, weaving and folk dancing.

Dylan Smith, of Mankato State University (MSU), talked about interpreting Vikings through literature, Deanna Almquist, also of MSU, presented “Ship Burials of the Viking Age,” Tracy Matteson, of St. Louis, MO shared her experiences about life as an exchange student in Tampere, Finland and Scott Wolter, a geologist from Chanhassen, MN presented the latest information about the Kensington Runestone from his examinations focused on the geology of the stone.

The folk dance evening featured Char Bostrom on fiddle, and dance instructors Carol Sersland and Bruce Bostrom led the group through circle dances, mixers and partner dances in the bygdedans tradition.

Guests also worked with their hands and bodies during wood carving lessons from David Winter, and weaving instruction with Valorie Arrowsmith. Jerry Revelle led the ax casting competition outdoors, in which each person threw an ax at a large target.

Ever popular were the meals crafted by chef Dan Rider. His homemade breads and baked treats were well received. The headliner meal of the weekend was his Saturday night traditional dinner of meatballs, potatoes, red cabbage, rutabagas, roast pork, fish and fruit torte.

Most retreat participant recruiting occurs through universities with Scandinavian departments, however the retreat is open to all students, families, and adults interested in learning more about the Nordic countries. Generally the second or third weekend in February is the annual date of the Scandinavian Retreat. Housing on site includes gender neutral log cabins with bunk beds. Some guests elect to reserve motel rooms in Eau Claire, so the overall price is pro-rated to allow for that.

For more information visit Nordenfolk