Nordic Music and Dance Plus Lutfisk at Autumn Festival in Minnesota
Victoria, MN — A sunny September Saturday, comfortable temperatures, a shady location and good music all helped create a fun environment for the annual Nordic Music Festival. The event sponsor, Nordic Heritage Club of Carver County, chose a great venue in Lion’s Park in Victoria, a western suburb of Minneapolis.

Musical groups from Minnesota were the featured artists this year. “Ole’s Tent” and “Lena’s Café” were the locations for performances, crafters showed and shared their wares, Kubb was a popular activity and the Sons of Norway Viking Age Club exhibited their handicrafts. Dancing to the waltz and polka tunes was popular for the very young as well as the young at heart. A silent auction and lingonberry ice cream were available throughout the day.

Representing the choral music tradition were the Cloudberries and the American Swedish Institute Male Chorus. Dance groups were the Vasa Junior Dancers, including the very, very young all the way through college age, and Peer Gynt Norwegian group. Norsk dances were introduced by participants who were also proud to say how many years they had been members of the group.
Instrumentalists were metro area musicians Elise Peters and Bruce Bostrom on the nyckelharpa, and Versk Spelman, a Swedish folk group from the Carver County area. Performing through song, a joke or two, and on fiddle, harmonium or accordion were Kip Peltoniemi, Ole Olssons Old Time Orkester and John Bergquist.

Annual Lutfisk toss
The culmination of the event was the annual Lutfisk Toss, with competition between the Norwegian and Swedish teams. Each team member had three tosses per turn, in which they picked up a chunk of lutfisk and tossed it toward a bucket about 25 feet away. The crowd was supportive, offering advice, suggesting that the participants needed to account for the wind, and providing compliments on a “good follow through” even if the fish did not go into the bucket. Both teams, the horned-helmeted Norwegians wielding swords and shields, and the Swedes wearing folkdräkt and waving blue and gold pom pons, had their own cheerleaders.

At the end of the contest the judge announced, “For whatever reason, the Norwegians have won again.” They have taken nearly every competition title since the inception of the event. The fish was supplied by Olson’s, which has a slogan that says, “If it’s wholesome, it Olson’s.”
The festival was made possible by grants and support from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Sons of Norway Foundation, the Scandia Lodge of Waconia, the Nordic Heritage Club of Carver County, and businesses and individual donors.

Performers interested in participating in 2015 should visit the Nordic Heritage Club Facebook page and send a message to the planners. The festival welcomes groups from the Nordic countries, and invites them to consider including this event in their future North American tours. For more information visit

By Valorie Arrowsmith