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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.

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.

2016 Vesterheim Highlights included:

  • Best-selling author Lauraine Snelling will be available to sign books Saturday - 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 12:00-3:00 p.m. in the Museum Store! Snelling has written over 80 Norwegian-American pioneer books, including the Red River of the North series. Winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Inspirational Fiction, Lauraine has become beloved by her readers for her historical novels featuring the town of Blessing, North Dakota, and her inspirational contemporary novels. Come join her as she celebrates the release of her newest novel, The Second Half, plus all of her previous favorites!

  • Trunk Show of Nordic-inspired wool blankets and clothing by Laurie Jacobi, award-winning textile designer from Minnesota.

  • Oneota Film Festival presents a film from Norway and our own Driftless: A Film About Decorah, By Decorah at 3:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday in the museum’s Bethania Church. The Oneota Film Festival brings together hundreds of film enthusiasts in scenic Northeast Iowa to enjoy award-winning films.

  • Norwegian artists: Rosemaler Turid Helle Fatland and fiber artist Britt Solheim making sheepskin coverlets.

  • Demonstrators in The National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Friday—woodworking with Becky Lusk; 1:00-5:00 p.m. on Friday—woodworking with Hans Sandom; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday—woodworking with Harley Refsal; 1:00-5:00 p.m. on Saturday—woodworking with Phil Odden and Else Bigton.

  • 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.

  • Psalmodikon (stringed instrument) demonstrations and ropemaking demonstrations.

  • Skjaldborg, from Elk Horn, Ia., will present 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.

  • Viking artisans: Flax processing and Viking jewelry making

  • Living Heritage Demonstrators: Blacksmithing, knifeblade forging, leatherwork, chairmaking, dovetail chest making, wood carving, pottery, and figure carving. Sponsored by Decorah Bank and Trust.

  • 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.

  • Friends from The Norwegian American magazine from Seattle, Washington, and Norway House from Minneapolis, Minnesota, will both have information booths at the museum.

  • Free admission on Thursday - open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • The 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.)