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Vesterheim Activities at Decorah’s Nordic Fest

July 28-29, 2017

Enjoy a Vesterheim adventure at Decorah’s Annual Nordic Fest!

This city-wide festival is held each year on the last full weekend in July and includes fun activities for the whole family. The 2017 Nordic Fest will held on July 28 and 29 with Opening Ceremonies on Thursday, July 27. Check back for more details.

Traditions new and old abound throughout the weekend. There is always lively dancing, challenging sporting events, delicious food, and lots of other entertainment. To learn more about other aspects of the fest, call the “troll-free” hotline at 1-800-382-FEST, or visit Nordic Fest.

Vesterheim’s Main Building is open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily with free admission on Thursday.

The museum’s Open Air Division of 12 historic buildings is open Friday and Saturday from 12:00-4:00 p.m. to tour on your own with no admission fee. Guided tours of the Open Air Division are at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (free) and Sunday (with admission ticket.)

Vesterheim Museum Store is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, with sweaters, jewelry, folk art, cooking supplies, books, and more.

Would you like to enjoy Nordic Fest from the inside? Become a Vesterheim volunteer by downloading a Vesterheim Volunteer Help Form for Nordic Fest here. (pdf)

2017 Vesterheim Highlights:

Entertainment, Book Signings, and Presentations

  • The Newlands Coop - Nordic Roots music by accomplished musicians, Norwegian Vidar Skrede and Finnish-American Sara Pajunen, at 1:00 on Friday and Saturday in the Bethania Church.

  • Mette Bowen presents Bunad Advice: Caring for Traditional Norwegian Costumes at 2:30 on Friday in the Bethania Church. Are you the proud owner of a bunad, or hope to be? Learn all about proper care, storage, and cleaning of these heirloom garments from this bunad expert. Mette is a Vesterheim trustee, who was previously the owner operator of L&M Fabrics in Decorah and had the largest selection of cotton bunader under one roof in the United States.

  • Liz Bucheit presents Traditions in Transition: Fantasy Filigree Jewelry at 2:30 on Saturday in the Bethania Church. Liz is a jeweler from Lanesboro, Minnesota.

  • Skjaldborg, from Elk Horn, Ia., presents their Viking encampment and will entertain throughout the day with full Viking combat demonstrations. Skjaldborg means “fortress of shields.” Sponsored by Viking State Bank & Trust.

  • Slooper Society—information and book sales from the descendants of Norwegian immigrants who sailed to The United States in 1825 on the ship Restauration.

  • Book Signing The Curve of Her Life: Folk Artist Laura Hoeg By Carol Hoeg Oliver.

  • 99th Infantry Battalion (Sep.) WWII Educational Foundation representatives offer information and book and DVD sales.

  • Psalmodikon (stringed instrument) demonstrations by Floyd Foslien and Beatruice Hole.

Demonstrations, Displays, and Sales

  • The National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition, a judged show and sale of exceptional pieces of knifemaking, rosemaling, weaving, and woodworking by contemporary American artists.

  • Folk Art School Demonstrators in tents directly in front of the Main Building from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. each day. Students and instructors of Vesterheim’s Folk Art School demonstrate a variety of folk arts.

  • Demonstrations by Norwegian artists Knifemaker Morten Håkonsen, woodworker Rolf Taraldset, and rosemaler Egil Dahle.

  • Living Heritage Demonstrators: Blacksmithing, knifemaking, forging, leatherwork, weaving, flax processing, and figure carving. Sponsored by Decorah Bank and Trust.

  • Filigree jewelry making by jeweler Liz Bucheit (Satuday only).

  • Ropemaking demonstrations by Dick Enstad.

  • Woodcut prints by Decorah artist Carl Homstad.

  • Country Gallery Antiques, specializing in Scandinavian antiques—textiles, jewelry, decorated woodenware, sewing tools, kitchenware, prints, and painted furniture.

  • Vesterheim Ribbon-Winning Rosemalers Sales Shop, with rosemaling for sale by Vesterheim ribbon-winning artists. Staffed by Nisse Rosemalers, Postville, Ia.

  • Oneota Weavers and Spinners Guild Sales Shop with hand-felted Santas and Christmas ornaments/figures, hand-woven rugs, scarves/shawls, table runners, and more.

Plus, the Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library gives advice on family research, and much more!

We had a blast in 2016. Thank you to everyone who visited and everyone who helped over the weekend! Find an album of pictures from that event here.

The Norwegian-American newspaper shared this article about the 2016 event. It was great fun to have them visit.