Nordic Fest Book Proceeds Help Preserve Archival History at Vesterheim

Nordic Fest: 50 Years Strong, the limited edition book, is now available for pre-sale. Proceeds from the sales will support the permanent placement of the Nordic Fest archives at Vesterheim.

“The Nordic Fest 50th anniversary book celebrates the beautiful story of this uniquely nonprofit, noncommercial special event held the last weekend of July in Decorah, Iowa. How appropriate that Vesterheim, the critical partner of Nordic Fest for all 50 years, will become the permanent home of the event’s archival treasures. Your purchase of a copy of the book helps make proper preservation of these Nordic Fest archival records possible,” said Dawn Svenson Holland, researcher and writer of the book.

The book includes 22 chapters and a detailed appendix that shares many aspects of the 50-year history of Decorah’s Nordic Fest, along with a section at the end for the reader to record his or her personal favorite Nordic Fest memories. The book also comes with a DVD that includes archival footage of the first Nordic Fest, shot by a filmmaking professional whose family donated this treasure to the history project, and, a digitized version of a 1991 VHS promotional video made for the 25th Nordic Fest.

“Vesterheim’s Folk Art School has been intimately linked to Nordic Fest since the beginning and this year we celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of both,” Jennifer Kovarik, Vesterheim’s Archivist said. “Our city has every reason to be proud during this landmark year, and the museum is honored to be named the repository of this valuable collection of Decorah and Norwegian-American history and culture,” Kovarik added.


September 19, 2016 - The team of volunteers who worked on the book/DVD combo Nordic Fest: 50 Years Strong, presented Chris Johnson, President/CEO of Vesterheim, with a check for $8,334.24. The check represents proceeds from sales of the commemorative book/DVD combo through the end of August.

This amount, made possible by the project’s donors and 700 book/DVD purchasers, will be used to fund the baseline costs for Vesterheim to review the extensive Nordic Fest archives over the course of the next two years and properly preserve them, making them available for future researchers.

A limited number of copies still remain and are available here in the Vesterheim Museum Store.