Norway Day in Lacey

by Jonah Barrett for OLY ARTS

Jippi! Norway Day returns to Thurston County, going strong in its 11th year. Guests are encouraged to attend the annual festival to experience Nordic culture, kindly hosted by the Sons of Norway and Daughters of Norway. “We just love putting on Norway Day, and we hope the public loves us, too, because they keep coming!” said Joanne Gray, president of the Sons of Norway. The event first began 11 years ago as a public-outreach event. Initial Norway Days took quite an effort to coordinate. “We didn’t know how many people to expect,” said Gray, “so we didn’t really know how much food to prepare. We didn’t know how well we would be received.”

In their second year after moving to the Thurston County Fairgrounds, the Sons and Daughters ran into April snow, which required dragging an entire Viking ship (replica) through the freezing spring weather. Now vendors and entertainers come to the Sons and Daughters instead of vice versa, and the organizations have established procedures for setting up the event. Entertainers this year include Jane and Jeff Johnson on the accordion and fiddle, Toby Hanson on the accordion and Leikarring dancers. The festival features Viking reenactors walking around the fairgrounds to mingle with the crowds. Among the crowds will also be a mischievous troll. Guests can look forward to purchasing such Nordic goods as rosemaling, woodcarvings, knit sweaters and, of course, baked Nordic delicacies—like julekake (Christmas bread), krumkake (waffle cookies), sandbakkels (sugar cookies) and a “meatball sundae”—from the famous bake sale. “We have a unique menu,” said Gray. “It’s not hamburgers and hot dogs.” Be sure to get there early, as the lines for food get long, with Gray reporting a customer one year told her: “We would wait all day, the food is so good.”

What: Norway Day

Where: Thurston County Fairgrounds,
3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Lacey

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 15

How much: free – $3

Learn more: 360-923-1242 | Norway Day

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