With the passing of Memorial Day Weekend and the arrival of June, many people consider summer to be here. Once again, I’m combining virtual events for June, July, and August into one post and will update as new events come on my radar. There are a lot of handcraft and cooking opportunities. Maybe there’s a new dish or craft you’d like to learn about or try this summer?
Interested in joining other readers to discuss Nordic books this summer? Many online book clubs continue to meet during the summer. See details about their summer meetings here.
And since I won’t be returning with a post of monthly events until the end of August, Southern California readers should mark their calendars with two very unique in-person events happening in September, coincidentally both the same weekend. Will you choose one or make time for both events?
On Saturday, September 16, the Norwegian Church in San Pedro will host their outdoor Shrimp and Dance Party – the name and picture say it all! Taking place both days of that weekend, September 16 and 17, is a bigger and better Vista Viking Festival in northern San Diego County (tickets already on sale).
What will you add to your calendar this summer?
Exploring Coastal Sámi Handcraft (Sunday, June 4, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)
Join Vesterheim and folk artist and culture-bearer Hege Nilsen in this webinar for a conversation exploring the traditional handcraft of the Coastal Sámi. From leatherwork, to pewter thread braiding and embroidery, to mica embellishments, you will learn about the folk art still made by this segment of Scandinavia’s indigenous people. Registration required for this free event.
Typiskt svenskt / Typical American Discussion (Tuesday, June 6, 9:30 a.m. CT or Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m. CT)
Join American Swedish Institute as Gunn Edberg-Caldwell leads this fun, open discussion about the similarities and differences between Sweden and the United States. What do people generalize or assume about each country or culture? What can one learn from the other? Participants will compare and discover how different yet alike these two countries really are. This class is offered at two different days and times, June 6 in the morning and June 8 later in the day.
ASI Nordic Table: The Swedish Smörgåstårta (Thursday, June 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)
Gather some tips and tricks for building a smörgåstårta, or Swedish sandwich cake, at home. This savory centerpiece uses sandwich fillings of all varieties to feed a large group with style. Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will walk students through the fillings, cream cheese based “frosting”, and assembly of a classic smörgåstårta before discussing alternatives for a vegetarian or even vegan version, perfect for all sorts of summer gatherings. This classic Swedish dish was featured on the last season of the Great British Bake Off – students will be ready to tackle this dish at home after this class!
Virtual Scan Fest: Midsummer Market (Friday & Saturday, June 9 & 10)
The Virtual Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses together from around the globe, in one online location. To participate, visit the Facebook page and mark that you are “Interested” or “Going” to the event. Then during the weekend of the event, follow the Discussion tab on the Facebook page for products, discounts, and give-aways. Shop Nordic by visiting or contacting businesses that you are interested in. For a master list of businesses and discounts, visit https://www.scandinavianfest.com/ and click on “Shop by Category”.
Vesterheim Family Handcraft at Home: Intro to Rosemaling (Register by June 16)
Join Vesterheim in July for this introduction to rosemaling for the family. This program has been designed for families to experience on their own schedules. On the first of July, you will receive an email with the links and information about how to access the program. Rosemaling (or rose painting) is a decorative painting technique characterized by scrolls, leaves, and flowers and has been traditionally applied to woodenware. Several distinctive styles developed throughout Norway. You’ll learn how to try different brushstrokes, resulting in beautiful decorative painting. Your registration provides you with a kit that includes everything you need to do this family handcraft at home. Enrollment Deadline: June 16.
Vesterheim Filmprat: Narvik (Wednesday, June 21, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)
In a twist on Vesterheim’s monthly bokprat discussions, join Dr. Maren Anderson Johnson for a discussion of the film Narvik (available on Netflix). In April 1940, the eyes of the world were on Narvik, a small town in northern Norway, a source of the iron ore needed for Hitler’s war machine. Through two months of fierce winter warfare, the German leader was dealt his first defeat. This program is free of charge. Registration is required.
Painting with Wool: Dala Horse (Friday, June 23, 2:00 p.m. CT)
Explore the magic of needle felting with a delightful Dala horse image and take your colorwork skills to a new level. Dala horses have been a Swedish icon for centuries and this class will take a new spin on the traditional wooden painted form by recreating the image in wool. In this class, students will learn how to stretch a felt backing onto an embroidery hoop and keep it tight for ease of use and how to transform the beautiful array of hand dyed roving from the sheep at Laura’s farm’s into their own interpretation of the project. At the end, the instructor will offer suggestions for using or mounting the finished piece.
Frida Hansen: A Norwegian Art Nouveau Artist in Wool (Saturday, July 8, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)
Join Vesterheim and writer and weaver Robbie LaFleur for a lecture on the life and work of the innovative Norwegian tapestry artist Frida Hansen (1855-1931). LaFleur spent the month of May 2019, in Stavanger, Norway, on a master artist fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation. Frida Hansen was famous for her monumental tapestries, but she also designed transparencies—curtains and hangings with wool warp and weft. In her signature technique, she left open unwoven areas in the weaving, making the textiles flowing and flexible. Her striking designs were enhanced by the play of light and dark with the open warps. Registration required for this free event.
ASI Nordic Table: Summery Tunnbröd Wraps (Thursday, July 13, 1:00 p.m. CT)
Thin and soft Swedish tunnbröd (literally, thin bread) is often used for serving hot dogs in Sweden, but they are also a great base for summery wraps. Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will demonstrate making tunnbröd on the stovetop and discuss ways to adapt this simple flatbread recipe for the grill. Then, she’ll share a few fun ideas for wrapping up summer’s best produce, perfect for indoor or outdoor meals from July onwards. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date. The recipe packet will be available for download one week in advance.
Dressing the Wise and Foolish Virgins: What Tapestry Can Teach Us About Women, Dress, and Culture in 16th and 17th Century Norway (Saturday, July 15, 2:00 p.m. CT, Free)
Join Vesterheim and tapestry weaving instructor Laura Berlage of Erindale Tapestry Studio on a deep dive into the beloved Norwegian billedvev tapestry “The Wise and Foolish Virgins” as she shares how the simple question “What are these women wearing?” transformed into an enchanted journey. Learn how this visual theme intersects Norwegian-Danish history, climate change, the plague, religion, secular expectations of women in marriage, and the production of these tapestries in social context. Learn how her collaboration with The Tudor Tailor inspired the creation of a miniature interpretation of what the tapestries depict in real form, from the smock up to the crown, as well as how learning to visually “read” these tapestries gives us tantalizing hints into the fashions of the era. This visually-rich presentation is infused with stories, details, insights, and deep questions that help us think about these iconic tapestries in a new and layered way. Come ready to dive in and explore this remarkable era in Norwegian history. Registration required for this free event.
Scandinavian Hot Dog Party (Saturday, July 15, 4:00 p.m. CT)
Are you ready to upgrade your hot dog situation from ho-hum ketchup and mustard to something with some serious Nordic flair? Join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen to learn how to prepare hot dogs with all the fixings from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark! Enrollment Deadline: July 1.
Nordic Christmas in July / jul i juli! (Saturday, July 22, 5:00 p.m. CT)
Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson for a Nordic Christmas in July. Who says the delicious bites of jul can’t be enjoyed in the heat of summer? In this Nordic take on Christmas in July, we’ll lighten up the menu with summer kjøttkaker, baked brown beans, potatoes, summer gløgg, and gingerbread with berry curd. Enrollment Deadline: July 10.
Run Like a Viking Virtual Challenge (August 1-31)
From August 1-31, let the National Nordic Museum inspire you to keep moving and remain active, while having fun with your friends and family! Participants can choose between a 5K, 10K, or half-marathon challenge race. International participation is encouraged! Because this race is virtual, you can walk with your family, run with your friends, or pound the pavement solo anywhere in the world. All entrants will receive a custom Run Like A Viking T-shirt (while supplies last), racing bib, two general admission tickets (expire August 2024) to the National Nordic Museum, and a free pretzel at local favorite Skål Beer Hall.
ASI Nordic Table: Swedish Pancakes, Sweet and Savory (Thursday, August 10, 1:00 p.m. CT)
Pancakes – one of Sweden’s most classic recipes and not just for breakfast! In fact, many Swedes eat pannkakor for dessert or fika. In this demo, Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will run through a great basic pancake recipe and then share ideas for seasonal sweet and savory fillings. Finally, students will learn how to turn the pannkaka into a towering dessert, the pannkakstårta, or pancake cake.
Nordic Camp Food with Patrice Johnson (Thursday, August 10, 4:00 p.m. CT)
Whether you seek adventures in the great outdoors or prefer quiet afternoons on your deck, Vesterheim’s Nordic Camp Food class with Patrice Johnson will have you celebrating the season. Prepare this outdoorsy menu on your next camping trip or in the backyard. It is also ideal for picnics and barbecues. The menu includes pinnebrød (Norwegian stick bread), sausage and condiments, potato salad, and seasonal fruit bars. Signature cocktail and spirit free beverages included. Enrollment Deadline: July 27.
New Nordic Summer Salmon Supper (Saturday, August 12, 4:00 p.m. CT)
Fire up the grill for a fabulous New Nordic late summer supper your guests won’t soon forget! Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a delicious evening of Spiced Salmon Skewers with Lemon, Barley Salad with Corn and Zucchini, and an unforgettable Cardamom Peach Cobbler for dessert. Enrollment Deadline: July 29.
Vesterheim Family Norwegian Language Adventure: Back to School! (Register by August 18)
Join Vesterheim and Evelyn Galstad in September for this back to school language adventure. Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light-hearted games, and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy treat. Enrollment Deadline: August 18.
Heritage Grains in Contemporary Agriculture (Saturday, August 26, 2:00 p.m. CT, Free)
Scandinavians have been using small grains like rye and barley since the Viking age, but how did these grains end up as part of the Norwegian Immigrant story? Join Vesterheim and expert Benji Nichols for a look back at Scandic bread culture and how a resurgence in “artisan” grains is fueling a whole new generation of bakers, brewers, and craft millers, from the Midwest to Scandinavia. Registration required for this free event.
Which events or experiences will you add to your summer calendar?
Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.