The 25th annual Barneløpet celebration this year happened with warm temperatures and a walk (or run) through the tall-grass prairie. Families enjoyed getting outside even without snow, and the walkers received a bib at the start line and a medal when they completed the course. Hot chocolate and homemade cookies from area Sons of Norway lodge members were served by the fire. Thanks to everyone who came out!

Barneløpet, (pronounced BAR-nuh-lop-it) is Norwegian for “kids race” and Sons of Norway lodges all over the country sponsor Barneløpet events. It is modeled after the Barnebirke, a children’s cross-county ski race held each year as a part of the world-famous American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Decorah’s event is a partnership with Vesterheim and three Sons of Norway Lodges—Valdres #503 in Decorah, Iowa, Heimbygda #376 in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and Valheim #364 in Spring Grove, Minnesota.

Barneløpet has been free for many years thanks to support from Jon and Mary Hart of Decorah in memory of their friend Kjell Arne Berntsen, who passed away in 2013 and was an avid Norwegian cross-country skier and previous Valdres exchange student at the Decorah High School.

The event could not have happened all these years without support from Decorah Park and Rec, organizer Darlene Fossum-Martin, and all of the volunteers who bake cookies and cheer on the skiers/walkers.

Until next year!