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Photo courtesy of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

Photo courtesy of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum

Honor heritage and traditions at the Nordic Marketplace and Luncheon

By Helen Olberg, Chicago Area Friends of Vesterheim

Celebrate your Norwegian heritage and learn more about Norwegian traditions at the Nordic Marketplace and Luncheon hosted by the Chicago Area Friends of Vesterheim at the Park Ridge Country Club on Saturday, March 31, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Nordic Marketplace and a silent auction will be open from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m., offering Scandinavian merchandise, including books, jewelry, sweaters, jackets, vests, Laurie Jacobi Original Designs in Wool, hand-painted rosemaling (Norwegian decorative painting), acanthus and Viking-style woodcarving, original woodland Santas, hand-made felted nisser and wearable artwork. Norwegian-American artisans will demonstrate traditional Norwegian folk art techniques in woodcarving and rosemaling.

The Luncheon program features Chicago Spelmanslag – the Chicago area’s “home-town” Scandinavian folk band. Spelmanslag is a Scandinavian expression meaning “gang of musicians.” The band members are all from the Chicago area and include Tim Eischen, Mary Allsopp, Steve Johnson, Robert Bahrey, John Hall, Tim Anderson, Catherine Buckley, Seth Howard, Zach May and Kristin Frederick. “Everyone will enjoy this lively musical entertainment,” Evy Alsaker, co-chair of the event committee, said. The instruments they play include the nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed fiddle), tussefløyte (Norwegian style recorder), hardingfele (Norwegian understring fiddle), jawharp, guitar and the customary assortment of ordinary fiddles. The program will also include presentations from Vesterheim Executive Director Steve Johnson and Vesterheim Director of Development Steve Grinna, and a raffle.

A delectable luncheon will be served and a special menu for school-age children, 12 and under, will be offered.

Tickets are $50 per person (includes $15 tax deductible donation), $25 for school-age children, 12 and under (includes $10 tax deductible donation). Seating is limited, so advanced reservations are necessary and should be made by March 21. To make reservations or to ask for further information, please contact Vesterheim at (563) 382-9681 or by email to Reservations include entrance to the marketplace, luncheon and program. No tickets will be mailed; a list will be held at the door.

Proceeds from the event will benefit future editions of the magazine Vesterheim, published by the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

Founded in 1877, Vesterheim Museum is an independent not-for-profit organization, known as one of the oldest and most comprehensive museums dedicated to a single immigrant group in the U.S. The museum has a collection of over 24,000 artifacts, some of which are the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art seen in this country. This national treasure includes a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, and an immigrant farmstead and prairie church just outside the city. For details, visit

This article originally appeared in the Mar. 2, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.