September 2023: Nordic Events (Virtual & SoCal In-Person)

Welcome, Fall! Even though it’s not officially fall yet, it still feels like that since students are returning to school. I wonder if any of you had the chance to enjoy any virtual programming over the summer or visit any of the special Nordic events happening around the country (some of which are still going on!).

Southern Californians, have you marked your calendars with the family friendly Vista Viking Festival happening this month? California’s premiere Viking festival and Norse heritage event takes place September 16 and 17 just north of San Diego. Visitors can mingle with Vikings and the Norse Gods at the living history Viking Village, play and do crafts in the Kids Village, splurge on Nordic goods at the marketplace, learn all things Norwegian with cultural demonstrations in the Heritage Hall, indulge in festive foods and drinks, enjoy live music and battle demonstrations, and even try your hand at axe throwing and hone your Viking skills in various competitions.

New this year, there will be an exclusive tasting event with Viking Spirits. Viking Spirits will be offering two flights of selected products, either 4 spirits or 4 wines. Each of the four daily seatings is limited to 25 participants so get your tickets now. These tickets are in addition to the Vista Viking Festival tickets.

For ticket and parking information to Vista Viking Festival, please visit Tickets and Parking. Save 10% with early bird pricing which ends September 7. Buy tickets here.

Also happening this month is the Norwegian Church’s fundraiser Shrimp Party and Pier Dance on Saturday, September 16, in San Pedro. The Church will serve a 3-course meal along with drinks, and there will be live entertainment and good times, all in support of the Norwegian Church ($100 fee). If interested, reach out quickly as there are limited spots available.

Interested in joining other readers to discuss Nordic books or just want some book suggestions? Visit Online Nordic Book Club Meetings for details on reading selections and meeting dates for September.

What’s on your calendar for September?


Intro to Swedish with Jean Hanslin (Thursday, Sept. 7, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Swedish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Sweden? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Jean Hanslin is the perfect way to get a feel for Swedish, pick up a bit of grammar, and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—Sven Hedin: Great Explorer, Feckless Adventurer, or Self-Promoting Foreign Devil on the Silk Road? (Friday, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

Join the Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation for a Second Friday presentation from the past Nordic Spirit Symposium, “The Nordic Explorers: From Polar Frontiers to the Silk Road”. Professor Emeritus Daniel C. Waugh, Dept. of History, University of Washington, Seattle, shared about Swedish explorer Sven Hedin and his exploits on the Silk Road. Participation is free, but you must be registered to receive the link.

Intro to Finnish with Joona Sundström (Sunday, Sept. 10, 12:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to Finland? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Joona Sundström is the perfect way to get a feel for Finnish, pick up a bit of grammar, and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Virtual Arctic Watercolor Class with Willow Heath (Tuesday, Sept. 12, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Celebrate the Arctic landscape with a watercolor project led by Willow Heath. Willow will give step-by-step instructions on creating your own masterpiece, inspired by the landscape of the Arctic Circle. See class description for required materials.

Webinar: Knitting Nordic Heroes (Saturday, Sept. 16, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

From Merit Emstad who designed the first Selbu mitten to emigrants from the Nordic countries, knitters made an economic impact. These women helped give a sense of national pride, they hired women who at the time could not work out of the home, they set standards for the way we read knitting patterns, and they helped restore their economies. This talk with Steph Anderson will bring light to these heroes, some of whom are famous and some who had to fight to get credit for their work. Registration required for this free event.

Painting with Wool – Rosemaling (Sundays, Sept. 17 & 24, 1:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

Try out needle felting to create a unique wool “painting” in the style of Scandinavian folk art! Students will explore the magic of needle felting to recreate a motif inspired by rosemaled designs on a flat felt base. To begin, students will learn how to stretch a felt backing onto an embroidery hoop, then use needle felting techniques to transform a beautiful array of hand-dyed roving from the instructor Laura Berlage’s own sheep. Kits ($33 value) are included in the class fee. Each kit includes felt backing, wool, and needles.

Dr. Jenni Haukio and Eliza Reid – the First Ladies of Finland and Iceland – with Neil Gaiman (Wednesday, Sept. 20, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Dr. Jenni Haukio and Eliza Reid, the First Ladies of Finland and Iceland, engage in a talk with bestselling author Neil Gaiman exploring the globally captivating traditions and themes of Nordic literature, rooted in a rich cultural heritage. Notable authors in their own right, Dr. Jenni Haukio and Ms. Eliza Reid have published a number of titles in the past years on a variety of themes, including their multifaceted roles as First Ladies of their respective countries. In this conversation with fellow author and master storyteller Neil Gaiman, Dr. Haukio and Ms. Reid reflect on how literary storytelling has historically shaped the national identities of the two Nordic countries and continues to work as an essential tool in amplifying equality and democracy in contemporary societies. A livestream of the event will be available on this NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register.

ASI Demo: Baking Norwegian Skoleboller with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Sept. 21, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Get ready for the new school year with a favorite Norwegian baked good, the skolebolle, or Norwegian School Bun! Of course, this vanilla custard flavored bun is a treat for all ages. Kristi Bissell will walk students through the cardamom flavored yeasted dough, the vanilla custard, and the rising and baking process. This lovely bake is sure to be a fall favorite for young and old alike, and students will be ready to tackle the recipe at home after this demo! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the recipe at home at a later date.

Intro to North Sámi (Sunday, Sept. 24, 2:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families welcome!

Webinar: Kayaking the Lofoten Islands: Norway’s Craggy Crown Jewels (Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7:00-8:00 p.m. CT, Free)

The Lofoten Islands are a surreal seascape of soaring, snow-speckled peaks rising steeply from deep fjords, white sand beaches, and aquamarine bays. Amidst this natural splendor are historic fishing villages, small cities, and picturesque farms – all bathed in 24-hour daylight during summer months and forever changing in the moody weather of the islands’ arctic location. It’s a kayaker’s dream destination. Dan York, a lifetime paddler and traveler, will share images and stories from two kayaking expeditions he has led to these magical islands, the first in 2017 and the second in 2023. Registration required for this free event.

Rosemaling in the Os Style: Scrolled Box (Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

In this 4-day class, students will be painting a modern version of Os boxes, which can be used for all sorts of treasures. The Os style of rosemaling developed in the west coast of Norway about 1875. Annanias Tweit perfected this style and created a workshop at his farm where he and his apprentices painted tiner, sending baskets, trays, chairs, ale bowls, and delightful small boxes in the bright Os Style. They were sold in the Husflidens of Bergen and even now you can find small antique boxes from that period. A complete kit of supplies shipped to your home (a $105 value) containing paints, brushes, the wooden box, and sandpaper is included in the cost of enrollment. Enrollment Deadline: September 14, 2023


(Enrollment deadlines are in September; spots still available as of publication date.)

Scandinavian Loom Beading: Green Bookmark, Level 1 (Four Fridays, Oct. 6-27, 2:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Explore the beauty and fun of beading on a loom in the Scandinavian tradition! Inspired by designs from Nordic bandweaving, this class will take you from start to finish for making your own sparkly beaded bookmark. Learn about the historic use of loom beading and how a remarkably simple process can transform seed beads into delightful designs. The class kit includes a handmade loom designed by the instructor and enough beads, silk thread, needles, and patterns to make two projects, if you wish. Enrollment Deadline: September 22, 2023

Webinar: Exploring the Art of Sámi Joik (Saturday, Oct. 7, 3:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Iŋgor Ántte Áilu Gaup (artist name: Ailloš) grew up in a reindeer-herding family on the Norwegian side of Sápmi, a region that stretches over Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula, traditionally the home of the indigenous Sámi population. Ailloš and joiking are inseparable. He has been joiking as long as he can remember, and it has become key to his work as composer, actor, and teacher. The joik is the traditional form of Sámi song. It has its own musical rules and a very special connection to nature and all living beings. Join Vesterheim to hear Ailloš tell about his life in the far North and hear him joik.

Sparkly Pewter Thread Pendant (Wednesday, Oct. 11, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Are you ready for a new twist on tradition? Using pewter wire thread and a macramé style weave, you will create a beautiful pendant with a silver drop. Kit materials will provide you the option to create either a round or V-shaped pendant suspended from enough leather cord to accommodate your preferred necklace length, or you can use a chain of your own! No previous experience is necessary, but a willingness to use hand tools is required. Enrollment Deadline: September 27, 2023

Høstlige Frukt: Divine Flavors of Fall Cocktail Class (Friday, Oct. 13, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Join Malina Bickford, National Brand Director for Sweden’s Åhus Akvavit, for a delightful fall cocktail class to celebrate the rich bounty of autumnal fruits and flavors! From juicy apples to luscious figs, you’ll discover how to transform these seasonal treasures into captivating creations. Bring your favorite aquavit! Malina Bickford will discuss Nordic folklore associated with the autumnal ingredients and guide you through creating two fruit-forward, crowd pleasing cocktails plus a spirit-free “mocktail.” Enrollment Deadline: September 29, 2023

Nordic Appetizers for Autumn and Winter (Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson as they celebrate the flavors of the season with an evening of Nordic appetizers. Create fun Nordic bites like salt-brined cucumbers topped with creme fraiche and honey, lingonberry-brie bites, salmon spring rolls, and other delicious appetizers. Recipes for a signature cocktail and non-alcoholic beverage will also be included. Enrollment Deadline: October 05, 2023

Handcraft at Home: Carving a Snowman (Begins November 1, available all month)

This beginner woodcarving class will allow you to create your own snowman character inspired by Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, right down to the carrot nose and stick arms. Folk Artist and Youth Educator Steph Hughes will guide and show you how to carve a wooden snowman through a warm video demonstration. The best thing about this class is that you can watch the video and open your kit materials to explore carving whenever it is most convenient for you. Enrollment Deadline: October 15, 2023

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

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