Swedish-Americans certainly like to celebrate their ancestry on Sweden Day, in nature, with delicious food and plenty to drink. So it was that Vasa District #12 (Golden Gate) for northern California hosted its Sweden Day celebration at Sveadal for all of its members during the weekend of May 30 to June 1.
A couple dozen people began to gather on Friday night. Everyone had brought a tasty hors d’oeuvre — from elk sausage and paté to delicious salads. There was plenty to drink with a delicious dinner but mostly it was just convivial dining with old friends. But this was just the warm-up for a wonderful weekend.
The next day was full of activities crowned by a sumptuous feast. Only the board members had to get up for an early meeting in the Clubhouse, so despite the fact that Kubb and Crafts were scheduled, most people didn’t arrive until lunch. The Beesons had prepared half a dozen large open-faced sandwiches to choose from and everyone left the table satisfied.
Actually they were more than satisfied because the wine tasting, which was scheduled to follow lunch, was changed to precede lunch, which only whetted the appetite. The beautiful baristas provided flights of the same wine from several local wineries so that those with sophisticated palates could explain the complexities of their choices from among the sampled wines. A tally was kept and the district must have profited from this exercise, given that at one time the crowd at the Sveadal bar was five deep to sample the offerings.
Ted Olsson guaranteed that his afternoon tour of Sveadal would be no longer than one hour, for he too intended to be back in the Clubhouse by 3 p.m. for the aquavit contest. They returned on time.
This is the third year that Scott Schulkin has hosted his aquavit taste-off. What began then with half a dozen bottles, this year had 27 entries lined up across the tables for testing. Everyone was given a scorecard to judge various qualities of the infusions. Scott even created nearly a dozen eye-dropper bottles of extracts so people could brew concoctions right there on the spot.
All were judged on one of three categories: Best Presentation, Best Tasting and Most Traditional. A few people had more than half a dozen entries, but the women swept the prizes: Vicki Fedor-Thurman won both Best Presentation and Best Tasting while Katherine Lipscomb won Most Traditional. Many a traditional Swedish snapsvisor was sung, yet in the end there still remained plenty of aquavit to quaff after dinner.
A full house of nearly 100 people attended the delicious dinner by master chefs Kathy and Bob Beeson — medallions of elk cooked to perfection with potatoes and greens, a salad and a wonderfully rich dessert. A silent auction with a dozen or more brimming baskets of goods was held, and the party lasted well into the evening.
However that night’s festivities did effect how many arrived on time for the Sunday breakfast. Without reservations, the Beesons performed a loaves-and-fishes miracle, feeding more than 50 people with eggs in any style with full trimmings, fresh fruit and another delicious dessert. All lingered to enjoy the camaraderie and to try to remember all the events of the weekend. Whether or not their memories were sharp, all agreed that it had been a wonderful weekend and thanked Gustav Vasa for the occasion.

Sveadal, 1June2014