Sister City Association brings Bergen and Norway to Seattle

Annual fundraiser reception celebrates “Global Connections through Word Travel” with Mayor Murray, Jean Enersen, and Rick Steves

Image courtesy of Seattle Sister Cities

Image courtesy of Seattle Sister Cities

Special Release
Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association

These days in Seattle there is a lot of buzz about the upcoming 2016 Seattle Sister Cities Reception at Seattle City Hall on October 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and not in the least due to the efforts of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association. “With the theme ‘Global Connections through World Travel,’ Bergen naturally emerged as point of focus,” remarks SBSCA president Lori Ann Reinhall. “Bergen being one of the top tourist destinations in Scandinavia and all of Europe,” she added.

Reinhall was quick to get on board the planning committee for the annual fundraiser, which will include several prominent guests, including travel guru Rick Steves and Emmy award-winning news anchor Jean Enersen. Hosted by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council, the evening will showcase live entertainment, travel exhibits from the twenty-one Seattle sister cities, Washington wine and beer, and internationally flavored gourmet food-tasting stations. While raising money for the Seattle Sister Cities, it is also one of the city’s most important networking opportunities, where guests can mingle with the mayor, city council members, country consuls general, and other internationally minded business and community leaders.

Each year there are four featured sister cities at the event on a rotating basis, and while this year Christchurch, New Zealand; Mombasa, Kenya; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and Nantes, France, are highlighted, if a fifth sister city were to be added to that list, it would be Bergen, Norway. The Bergen committee has worked hard on procurement to bring tourism in Bergen and Norway to the forefront, and the grand raffle prize for the event will be a trip for two along the Norwegian coast with the Hurtigruten departing from Bergen. With the Hurtigruten office opening in Seattle next month, the cruise line was quick to get on board and offer their support, and the SBSCA is also working with them to promote a customized trip planned in celebration of the association’s 50-year jubilee in May 2017. Nordic vendors are also being featured at the City Hall bash, including a cocktail bar with Aalborg and Linie aquavit, and there has been support from the Nordic Heritage Museum’s “Mostly Nordic” classical music series, the Swedish Club, and Scandinavian Specialties, as well as many individuals from the Nordic community. The event will feature a silent auction with unique experiences and gift items from around the world, and Norway will figure prominently there as well.

Entertainment and ambience have always been a forte of the Seattle-Bergen faction, and Reinhall was soon appointed to take charge of the program for the evening. After a resounding success with Cooksie Kramer and the Northwest Accordionaires and their “Tribute to Edvard Grieg” at Bergen Place at the 17th of May festival last spring, the SBSCA president invited them to play an expanded medley of songs from the various sister cities at the October event. “An accordion orchestra has a very full, robust sound to set the tone for a festive occasion and will fill the hall, which is expecting up to 500 guests,” notes Reinhall. Later in the evening, concert pianist Angelo Rondello will perform a tour-de-force Chopin polonaise on the city’s baby grand piano. Rondello is the organizer and principal performer in the Seattle Music Exchange Project and will tour four sister cities in 2017, including Bergen, together with a SBSCA entourage. Filling out the evening’s entertainment lineup are the Kisbetyárok Hungarian Dancers, who will perform in their colorful folk costumes. Norway will also add to the evening’s flair, with their many volunteers and attendees showing off traditional bunads. There will be flags, travel posters, and slideshows to enjoy, and as table décor, the SBSCA will show off the beautiful Flora Metamorphicae ceramic flowers received as a gift from Bergen last year.

The cost for the event is $25, inclusive of food and drink, and all proceeds benefit the Seattle Sister Cities. The address is 600 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle, and parking is available at the Sea-Park Garage for $5. Online tickets are available at For more information, please visit or call (206) 412-9810. To learn more about the Seattle Sister Cities, visit More information is available about the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association at, or email

To subscribe to The Norwegian American, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.