April 2024: In-Person & Virtual Nordic Events

Happy Spring! And welcome to the latest listing of Nordic events. In addition to the usual list of virtual food, arts & crafts, book & film, and genealogy & history events, this month’s post includes a few special online premieres and in-person events happening in Southern California. Let me know in the comments what interests you the most.


For Southern California readers, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County invites you to celebrate their 70th anniversary with a performance of Nordic folk music by Danish String Quartet at the Westside Museum in Costa Mesa on Friday, April 12. “The versatile members of the Danish String Quartet bring the musical flavors of their homeland, weaving Nordic folklore into the sound world of classical music. The string quartet sound further enhances the depth of feelings invoked by the sublime melodies and harmonies in sophisticated arrangements of traditional Faroese ballads, waltzes, and Nordic folk tunes.” Tickets are $35 and readers of AVikingInLA can receive $5 off with code HYGGE.

On Saturday, April 20, the Daughters of Norway, Turid Jespersen Lodge #44, will host their annual Scandinavian Heritage Fair in Mission Viejo. There will be demonstrations of traditional crafts such as rosemaling, spinning, weaving, wood carvers, and wood burners, as well as a genealogy booth. Watch the preparation of traditional foods such as aebleskiver, krumkake, lefse, and Norwegian waffles. Enjoy open-faced sandwiches, rømmegrøt, soups, kransekake, and other Scandinavian desserts. The fair will also feature products from Norrdesign T-Shirts, Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Karlsson’s Scandinavian Designs, and Joan Johnson Watercolor Cards. Admission is free. See their flier for details.

On Sunday, April 28, the Los Angeles Kubb Club is holding its 8th annual West Coast Kubb Championships in South Pasadena’s Orange Grove Park. They welcome players of all levels and ages. A team can have anywhere from 2 to 6 players. There will be a full morning of group play and two playoff brackets in the afternoon. Everyone is guaranteed several hours of kubbing fun and there are many opportunities to bring home some hardware – even if you’re not a touring player! Since 2016, the LA Kubb Club has welcomed friends and fellow kubb enthusiasts from around town and all over the country to Orange Grove Park every April for a day of fun and friendly competition in the sun. They hope you’ll join them!

Then on the weekend of May 18 & 19 in Thousand Oaks, the Scandinavian Festival returns for its 50th anniversary. Tickets are already on sale. Consider volunteering at the festival. For your time, you will receive an official festival t-shirt and complimentary admission. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults, college students, and high school students. They need assistance with children’s crafts, family activities, and gate entrances. At the last festival, my son and I volunteered, him at the Take a Liking to a Viking photo opp station and me at the Head Wreaths booth. Interested or have questions? Reach out to scanfestvolunteers@gmail.com.


Last month the website Crossings: Norway & North America 1825-2025 went live in anticipation of the bicentennial of the first organized Norwegian migration to North America. Visit the website to learn about this first migration from Norway to North America in 1825, find resources for the bicentennial year, and view upcoming events around the country. The website will be updated as the bicentennial year approaches.

Premiering on April 12 is the Netflix film Stolen directed by Norwegian Sámi Elle Márjá Eira. It is an adaptation of Swedish Sámi author Ann-Helén Laestadius’ novel of the same name. “The film adaption portrays a young woman’s struggle to defend her indigenous heritage in a world where xenophobia is on the rise, climate change is threatening reindeer herding, and young people choose suicide in the face of collective desperation. But the story also lays bare the tensions that arise when modern ideas come up against a traditional culture with deeply rooted patriarchal structures” (source). I really enjoyed the book (Reading Lately, April 2023) and am eagerly looking forward to this film adaptation.


Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: April 2024 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

Vesterheim’s online folk art courses sell out quickly. To see what’s coming up in later months and to sign up before it’s too late, visit Vesterheim: Online Folk Art Courses.

ASI Nordic Table Event: Barley in the Nordic Kitchen (Thursday, 4/11)

Barley is one of the earliest cultivated grains in the Nordic region, and thousands of years later, it still deserves our attention! Low in gluten and high in fiber, barley was historically used for bread baking as well as brewing. In this virtual demo, Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will help us decode the different types of whole barley available, and also share why this is one of her favorite flours to keep on hand. Kristi will demo a delicious scone, a fresh salad perfect for spring, and discuss how she incorporates it into other dishes from breakfast to dinner. Healthy, delicious, and accommodating, barley might become your new favorite grain! 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.

Norwegian Raspeboller ​​(Potato Dumplings): Techniques and Different Ways to Serve as a Traditional Feast (Saturday, 4/13)

Join Vesterheim and Nevada Berg of North Wild Kitchen in making traditional Norwegian potato dumplings, known by many names such as raspeballer, komle, and klubb. Nevada will show various techniques in how to make them and the different ways to serve and stuff them. We’ll include mashed rutabaga and various meats for a complete meal. So, come and enjoy a whole platter of dumpling deliciousness. This course is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Decoding the Baldishol Tapestry: Learning to See the Hidden Stories, Symbolism, and Techniques in the Textile (Sunday, 4/14, Free)

Created in the late 1100s and rediscovered rolled up and stuffed under the floorboards of the Baldishol Church in Norway in the late 1800s, this impressive fragment of a much larger tapestry (or series of tapestries) depicting the “Labors of the Months” remains shrouded in mystery. In this webinar, join tapestry instructor and historical enthusiast Laura Berlage of Erindale Tapestry Studio on her journey to crack the code of what this piece has to tell us. From expressions of wealth to ancient churches, raising doves to the Medieval fur trade, constellation calendars to the language of love, there are so many overlapping stories to explore, including thoughts on why the piece was tucked away for centuries.

Family Handcraft at Home: Hand Quilting (Enrollment Deadline: 4/16)

Enroll now to enjoy this family course that begins May 1 and will be available all month. Enjoy the slowness of handcraft while learning to sew a finished quilt block without a sewing machine. Quilt blocks can make lovely wall hangings, a small mat for your morning coffee or tea, or a sweet blanket for a child’s toy. This project is perfect for school aged children (and up) who can confidently use a needle and thread. Enjoy the process of working at your own pace while watching the detailed video tutorial, leading you through each step of your quilt block. The $30-per-family price covers the cost of a special folk art class kit designed for two participants to explore quilting. Enrollment Deadline: 4/16

Vesterheim: Chip Carved Butter Spreader (Friday, 4/19)

Learn basic carving and chip carving while making a butter spreader! In this course you will learn Scandinavian knife holds to carve a butter spreader and then adorn the handle using chip carving techniques. Each student will receive two butter spreader blanks made out of dry basswood. One will be carved and adorned in class while the other will be saved for practice. This course is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Films from the Faroe Islands (Virtual Screening Package) (Available 4/19 – 5/5)

Presented in Faroe Islands Culture Days, see virtual screenings of some of the best contemporary films from the Faroe Islands in “Fog-Swept Cinema”. From April 19 through May 5, a virtual screening package will be available with three feature films — the coming-of-age drama Dreams by the Sea, the surrealist feature 111 Good Days, and the documentary Skál — as well as four short films, showcasing today’s leading filmmakers from the North Atlantic archipelago. Virtual screening packages are available throughout the U.S.

Springtime Smørbrød with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, 4/25)

Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for a celebration of spring smørbrød! In this hands-on virtual class, you will prepare an assortment of Scandinavian-style open face sandwiches showcasing the delicious ingredients of the spring season. Kristi will also share tips and tricks for styling your smørbrød with Nordic flair. This course is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

Genealogy Session with Swedish American Museum (Saturday, 4/27)

Delve into ancestry and history at one of Swedish American Museum’s Genealogy sessions. This month, Marie Thourson will be discussing the Great Chicago Fire. In October 1871, roughly 10,000 Swedish immigrants were living in Chicago. Half of them clustered in the neighborhood around Chicago Avenue, known as “Swede Town,” where merchants, doctors, and other businesses flourished. Five Swedish churches stood in this area as did the Svea Society, a cultural magnet for more secular Swedes. When the Fire broke out in Mrs. O’Leary’s west side barn on the evening of Sunday, October 8, north side residents thought they were safely distant from the flames. By morning, they were fleeing for their lives. Based largely on eyewitness reports in Swedish and Swedish American newspapers, this talk brings to light the experiences of the Swedish community.

Vesterheim: Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Sat., 4/27 & Sun., 4/28)

In this online class, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. The class will consist of three sessions over two days, and each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session you will have time to complete the steps that Liz has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. Enrollment Deadline: 4/13


Vesterheim: Gravlax 101 with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, 5/4)

Join Patrice Johnson, the self-titled “Nordic Food Geek,” for a delicious Nordic-inspired brunch that will teach you the beginning ins and outs of gravlax and all of the important accompaniments. This class will have your kitchen smelling like a Nordic deli! We’ll also make a signature cocktail and mocktail, and other delicious bites perfect for your favorite weekend meal. Enrollment Deadline: 4/19

ASI Nordic Table Event: Swedish Cardamom Buns with Kristi Bissell (Thurs., 5/9)

Turn out kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) worthy of a bakery display case with a little help from Kristi Bissell of the Scandinavian cooking blog True North Kitchen! Cardamom buns are a popular option in Swedish bakeries which go all in cardamom’s deep floral flavor by incorporating the spice into the dough, filling, and glittery sugar topping. Luckily these decadent buns can also be tackled at home with some basic baking techniques. In this hour-long demo, Kristi will demonstrate how to mix and knead the yeasted dough, prepare the filling, and bake a batch of buns at home. Students will leave with the recipe and lots of tips, inspired to bake their own batch of buns at home!

Vesterheim Filmprat: Stolen (Wednesday, 6/12)

Register now to join Vesterheim’s Filmprat to discuss Stolen, the new Netflix original film based on Ann-Helén Laestadius’ novel of the same name premiering April 12. This spellbinding Swedish story follows a young indigenous woman as she struggles to defend her family’s reindeer herd and culture amidst xenophobia, climate change, and a devious hunter whose targeted kills are considered mere theft in the eyes of the law. Based on real events, Ann-Helén Læstadius’ award-winning novel Stolen is part coming-of-age story, part love song to a disappearing natural world, and part electrifying countdown to a dramatic resolution—a searing depiction of a forgotten part of Sweden. Enrollment Deadline: 5/23

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

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