Ironically, Paula was the catalyst in the spring with, "Let's go to Lindsborg this year." As we started to research this idea, we quickly learned after talking to someone in the Lindsborg tourist office that this fall, October 8-11, would be the biannual Hyllningsfest, which is "more popular than Midsummer here."

Since we both like road trips, we decided to drive, even though it was 980 miles each way. We broke it up into two days, driving eight hours each day, so it was very manageable. Driving through Kansas is truly relaxing ... just wide open, tall grass fields for miles. (And what a great bonus to discover that just 25 miles from Lindsborg, in Abilene, are the wonderful Eisenhower Museum, library, his home and the chapel where President Eisenhower and his wife Mamie are buried.)

Our three Lindsborg days
I am glad we arrived on Thursday, a day before the celebration started. We explored Lindsborg, which is so pleasant with Dala horses in front of many stores and on corners, all painted by local artists. We also enjoyed seeing all the restaurants and the popular Öl Stuga, deciding we would return for a cold beer before we go home, and maybe even buy a T-shirt like the owner "Swede" and his staff wore. We also got a preview of the street dancing on the square — hundreds of school children dancing, swinging and having fun in the perfect 75 degree weather!

Paula was determined to go to her favorite catalog store, the catalyst for our trip: Hemslöjd. I certainly was looking forward to this, too — and finally, we were there. Somehow, before we walked away from the store with three bags of things we both "really need," I seem to have met all the employees, including Shirley, who paints the Dala horses and adds your name or what ever you want.


We had a great dinner at The Swedish Crown, where our host was Tomas, a 28-year-old school teacher. We also learned that he is one of the instructors for some of the kids we had seen dancing earlier today ... and of course he visited Sweden during a Lindsborg dance tour as a 10-year-old and as a student at Bethany College in town.

The weekend
On Friday the grandstands were full and the festivities formally began at 10 a.m. with dancing, and later in the day the king and queen of this years Hyllningsfest were on stage to huge applause and music, especially when we all sang the American and Swedish anthems and Kansas' song (Home on the Range)!

Speeches by Lindsborg's mayor, the former mayor of Lindsborg's Swedish sister city in Munkfors, Värmland, Björn Olov Hallberg, the Swedish Ambassador from Washington, DC and other dignitaries. I caught some Kodak moments and met so many interesting Swedes, Swedish Americans, and local people who just enjoy a party. The weather continued to be perfect and I decided to celebrate with a beer at Ölstugan — and I did get my official yellow and blue T-shirt.

On Saturday morning, we lucked out with a genuine Swedish smörgåsbord at The Swedish Country Inn, even though we could not stay there (they rent out all 19 rooms the very first day reservations are available, I learned).

We had heard the parade was something not to be missed and we enjoyed every minute of it. It was longer than we expected it to be, but once again, it was such fun to see the floats — my favorite was a Dala horse in the Rough — and many high school bands, state and county leaders sitting on an old Mustang convertible, a 1965 Pontiac GTO and for Bjorn Olov, a 1941 Lincoln limousine. I'm pretty sure he has never even seen this classic before.

If you are Swedish, or married to a Swede, or you know how to say "Hej" you need to add this town to your Bucket List. I am very glad my American born wife Paula did.