Monday, August 14, 2006

'Little Scandinavia'

The Scandinavian Festival is over for another year. It’s one of those things that I count time by. I told Jim this morning that today is the beginning of a new year….

It’s a four day event, and the town of Junction City kind of shuts down for it. They shut down a four block section of Greenwood Avenue and two blocks each of the intersecting streets (5th, 6th and 7th). There are booths down both sides of the streets – (food and products), and there are four buildings that are dedicated to showing off and selling goods – including the firestation, which is filled with tables and booths with all kinds of Scandinavian things as well as things not Scandinavian. The sounds of Scandinavian music can be heard from several blocks away. And at each end of the festival ‘grounds’ there is a stage where dancers and musicians perform throughout the day. Also you will see Vikings and trolls roaming the streets. Honestly even though we live in Junction City and are familiar with the streets, both Jim and I had a hard time getting our bearings at times. It just isn’t recognizable as our town, but is transformed into a ‘little Scandinavia’!

I always enjoyed attending the festival through the years, but now that we live in Junction City, it’s so much more fun! My honey let me be a Norwegian for the week-end – as much as I wanted to be. I was there every day for hours, and loved every minute of it!

Why do I love it so much? I think it’s because my Daddy was 101% Norwegian! He felt that there was no country as wonderful as his Norway, and that love for the country was contagious. My visit to Norway with him back before I was married just added to the appeal that Norway has for me. So it’s somewhat the nostalgia of wonderful memories of my Daddy and of Norway itself, and it’s the heritage that I have. I loved watching the dancing and imagining my ancestors participating in similar dances in ‘the Old Country’.

I didn’t venture over to the area today, but know that when I do go back, everything will be back to normal, and it will seem like Junction City again. (Incidentally, I love Junction City, too, so that’s not a bad thing). Of course there are the ever present reminders of the Scandinavian roots of the town – numerous buildings (particularly in the festival area) are painted with Scandinavian designs and colors. So though the major things – like the booths, the windmill that sits in the center of the festival area, the stage areas, the music and the wonderful smells of the festival – are tucked away somewhere out of sight, it’s easy to see that little Scandinavia isn’t far from the surface here. Maybe that’s why I like living here so much.

What do you think?

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