EPHRAIM — The city of Ephraim welcomes the annual Scandinavian Heritage Festival as it returns again for the 43rd year on Memorial Weekend, Friday and Saturday, May 24-25. The festival includes two full days of music, entertainment, crafts, arts, demonstrations, speakers, stories, food, vendors, sports, car show, tours, parade and fireworks.
Visitors come to enjoy the traditional festivities. About 650,000 Utahns trace their ancestry to Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Many of those living in Sanpete are descended from 19th Century Scandinavian converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One of the best recommendations for visitors is to seek out the information booth located at 150 East 100 North, pick up an event guide and map. They will help to answer the many questions about the festival. Visit the Scandinavian Festival’s website at http://scandinavianfestival.org.
The festival begins Friday, May 24, at 9 a.m., when the Pioneer Heritage Company will begin showing festivalgoers how the pioneers lived, worked and played. Come to Snow College, 100 East 100 North, for two days of reenactments that should give modern day folks a glimpse into the pioneer way of life.
See how pioneers cooked historic Scandinavian recipes over an open fire. Then, stick around for demonstrations on period sewing, woodworking and listen to some good old-fashioned pioneer storytelling.
The kids should have fun participating in pioneer children’s games and activities. The reenactments and demonstrations go from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Beginning at 10 a.m., Friday, the Scandinavian Heritage Conference will take place in the auditorium of the Snow College Huntsman Library, 150 East College Ave.
The conference gives participants an opportunity to learn about and reflect on Scandinavian and pioneer influences in the lives of early settlers of Ephraim and the Sanpete Valley and are particularly interesting for those with Scandinavian or other pioneer ancestors.
The conference this year will feature two speakers and is a free education event. At 10 a.m., Rhonda Lauritzen will speak on “Feistiness and Faith – The story of Ephraim’s Relief Society Granary.” Then at 11 a.m., Sandra Lanier will speak about the history and restoration efforts of the Ephraim Co-Op Building.
Also beginning at 10 a.m., Friday, is the Scandinavian Heritage Festival’s Quilt Expo. It takes place upstairs in the Ephraim Co-op Building, 96 North Main Street, on Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The expo includes quilts from local artists, particularly quilts that exemplify Ephraim’s Scandinavian or pioneer heritage and Mormon pioneer handicraft as kept alive by today’s aficionados.
A patchwork of quilts is expected to show up at the Scandinavian Festival Quilt Show; hand sewn, machine sewn, appliqued, pieced or perhaps even antique.
Many quilters are people who like to sit down, be with others and work together on puzzles, said quilt show coordinator Marcia Christensen.
“We’ve always said quilting is kind of crazy, you take some nice material and take it apart into pieces, and then you put it back together again.”
Local quilting groups, like the Mountain Valley Quilting Group in Gunnison, the Horseshoe Mountain and Stitchin’ Sisters groups in Ephraim, and Quilt Keepers in Wales, may contribute quilts to the show, but others are encouraged to bring their works in as well.
Antique quilts, that may have been in the family for years, are also welcome as are quilts by young or first-time quilters, and quilted projects other than blankets. But tied or kit quilts are not encouraged, Christensen said.
The show will not be judged, but visitors may vote for their favorite quilts.
To show a quilt, bring it to the Ephraim Co-op between 10 a.m.-6 p.m., on Wednesday May 22; or by 10:30 a.m., on Thursday, May 23. Quilt show organizers will attempt to show all works brought in depending on available space. For more information or to enter a quilt, call Marcia Christensen, 435-851-4061.
From Friday Noon through Saturday at dusk, the festival grounds on the north side of the Snow College campus and at Pioneer Heritage Park, 50 North 100 West, will buzz with costumes, dancing, storytelling, entertainment, historical tours, craft and food booths and more.
In the cold, dark winters of old Scandinavia, storytellers were held in high esteem because of their ability to spin tales of adventure, romance, and war providing a welcome diversion from everyday tasks. Eager listeners stared into the flames while images of magical conquests swept through their minds and inflamed their imaginations.
Over time, electronic entertainments seem to have shuffled storytellers off to the pages of history books, except for special events such as Ephraim’s Scandinavian Heritage Festival.
On Friday and Saturday afternoon storytellers will be drawing on the old and cherished tradition of storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, as storytelling has expanded to include pioneer stories and other folktales from various tellers who love the craft.
Dinner — Fireworks
The Little Gourmet Scandinavian Dinner will be served Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Greenwood Student Center at Snow College. A minimum of 300 hungry souls will be fed. No reservations are required but there is a fee.
Come experience a Scandinavian dinner of epic proportions, literally a smorgasbord, a buffet-style meal that originated in Sweden.
A fireworks show will be held after dinner or at dusk Friday night which can be viewed from outside the Greenwood Student Center.
Saturday, May 25
Saturday begins early with race registration open and the Half-Marathon race beginning at 5:30 a.m. The 10k Fun Run at 6 a.m., 5K and Walk at 7 a.m. Participants may pre-register online at http://scandinavianfestival.org or onsite at 50 East 100 North, Ephraim.
To enliven the competition, the Ephraim Youth City Council may add a vibrant twist to the Fun Run called “Color Me Viking.” At participants’ request, runners could be coated with powdered paint in Scandinavian colors and end the race in “rad” style.
Vike On A Bike
The Fourth Annual “Vike on a Bike,” mountain bike race for all experience levels begins with registration Saturday morning, at 6:30 a.m., at 400 East 100 North. There is a registration fee which includes a T-shirt and race number. Families are encouraged to decorate their Viking bikes.
Viking bikers have four course options: beginner, novice, sport and family. The Beginner, Novice and Sport rides begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Family Bike Ride at 9 a.m. All riders are encouraged to be in the Grand Parade at 10 a.m.
The beginning and advanced races are seven-mile courses that begin at Snow College campus and go east along Kane Valley Road, with two loops over Black Hill for the advanced rider, and an easier loop for the beginning rider.
The Family Fun Ride will be out and back on Kane Valley Road. The riders will finish back at the festival at the Noyes Building on the courses designed by Durke Gordon.
For more information call Beverly Thomas (435) 340-1052 or visit http://scandinavianfestival.org/viking-on-a-bike.
There are many events this day so start the day off with an appetizing breakfast hosted by the Lions Club. It is the annual Aebleskiver breakfast, served from 8-10 a.m., in a pavilion located in the parking lot east of the Ephraim Co-op, 96 North Main Street.
Then check out the Ephraim Co-op and explore the Olde Crafter’s Village. There will be arts and crafts for kids, various traditional artisans demonstrating trades such as a blacksmith, wood worker, Swedish rug weaving, soap maker and doll carver.
In addition artists will demonstrate bobbin lace, tatting, harbinger, black work, crocheting, knitting, and yarn spinning. Each year brings something new, come find out what it is!
Throughout this eventful day, there will be lots of entertainment, good food, bus tours, and activities for children and much, much more. Most entertainment events take place on the Snow College Main Stage or on the Heritage Plaza stage.
One of the Scandinavian Heritage Festival highlights is the annual parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Carolyn Tidwell is this year’s grand marshal. The parade route follows Main Street from 300 South to 200 North.
Ephraim City anticipates that this year’s parade will be very fun and interesting for all participants and spectators alike. The parade will give an opportunity to reflect upon the Scandinavian heritage of this part of the country. Each year the parade is well attended with local residents as well as may visitors who come for the weekend.
Families, businesses, organizations or for that matter, anyone, may enter the parade. All appropriate family friendly entries are welcome. A Scandinavian theme is encouraged for each entry. Candy is okay. There is no entry fee, but entries must pre-register online: www.scandinavianfestival.org/parade.
On the day of the parade, entries are required to check in at the corner of 300 South 50 East and will line up on 300 South on the east side of Main Street starting at 9 a.m.
For further information about the parade, send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then take a walk down memory lane and view all the original vehicles in The Original Garage Car Show from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. They will be parked at 100 East Street between Center and 100 North. Prizes will be given for each of the top divisions and one grand prize for Best of Show. For more information or to register visit http://scandinavianfestival.org/car-show.
Tours of the historic pioneer house and cabins will take place in Pioneer Park, 75 West 100 North, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. While visiting the park watch for fun activities including balloon caricatures, face painting, food and fun at the Ephraim Senior Center, 42 North 100 West, by the park.
There will be two bus tours available starting at 11:30 a.m., and again at 1:30 p.m. Each tour lasts 50 – 60 minutes and participants will be on the bus the entire time. The tour will visit parts of Ephraim, including historic sites, buildings, and homes that highlight the early history of the town and its Scandinavian settlers.
Participate in this year’s “Scandinavian Open” Tennis Tournament on Saturday, from 1-4 p.m., at the Snow College tennis courts, 375 North 200 East. There is a fee to participate.
Depending on the number of people that sign up there will be singles and doubles matches for men and women. Different skill level groups will also be considered. Should be super fun, come and play some tennis! To sign up or for more information call or text Justin at (435) 764-4658 or visit http://www.TennisSignUp.com.
Scandinavian Days drop-in pickleball tournament will take place on Saturday, at 4 p.m., at Snow College tennis courts, 375 North 200 East. Doubles partners will be chosen by a random draw and participants play until they lose.
No entry fee, but please sign up by 3:45 p.m., so pairing brackets can be filled out. Doubles only and players are responsible for making line calls and game regulations.
For further information, call Sharron Bird (435) 340-0646 after 3 p.m., or Brad Bird (435) 851-1240 or visit http://scandinavianfestival.org/athletic-events.
There is an online map available which details locations of events and parking areas at http://scandinavianfestival.org/map-parking. It is printable for reference during the event.