The Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, an all-volunteer run community event, marks its 50th anniversary this year with an Oregon Heritage Tradition designation by the Oregon Heritage Commission.
Other Oregon Heritage Traditions include the Oregon State Fair, the Pendleton Round-Up, the Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana, and the Portland Greek Festival.
“The designation recognizes those traditions that have helped define the state,” said Eric Martin, the commission’s chair. “This event truly celebrates what is local heritage in Oregon.”
The Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival started in 1968 as a celebration of the summer solstice and all things Scandinavian on Oregon’s North Coast. Operated by the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association, this three day festival is held annually during the third weekend in June at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds east of Astoria.
The festival attracts thousands of visitors from near and far who are interested in exploring the rich culture and heritage of the Scandinavian countries. From its popular Finnish pancake breakfast to the Running of the Trolls, the festival abounds with educational opportunities in areas of customs, language, and the arts. In addition to traditional handicraft and food booths, entertainment is provided by Scandinavian musical, dance, and theater groups.
Loran Mathews, Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association President, and Leila Collier, 2017 Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Chair, remarked in a joint statement: “We thank the Oregon Historical Commission for this prestigious honor and invite all Oregonians and visitors to share our traditions and heritage by attending our festival.”
An Oregon Heritage Tradition must have been in continuous operation for more than 50 years, demonstrate a public profile and reputation that distinguishes it from more routine events, and add to the livability and identity of the state. A list of Tradition designations is available at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/OHC/pages/oht.aspx.
The Oregon Heritage Commission coordinates efforts to solve statewide heritage issues through grants, education, and advocacy, and also promotes heritage tourism efforts.