Poulsbo celebrates longest day with Midsommer Fest

POULSBO – As volunteers carefully and methodically raised the Maistang pole at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park June 23, Robert Moseng’s Norwegian humor was as slick as a smoked herring.

Asking for a show of hands from visitors from the Old Country, he said, “It’s nice that we have some people from Norway here so they can learn how to do this right.”

And later, “Watch how we do this and take these lessons home.”

Moseng’s delivery was part Norwegian language lesson and part history lesson (the Maistang pole, for example, originated in Sweden but is now found in some Norwegian border towns, he said). And he helped add to the color of this day, a celebration of the longest day of the year.

Midsommer Fest is one of three significant public events that reflect the Scandinavian ancestry of Poulsbo’s earliest immigrants. Attendees mingled with reenactors in the Viking village and dined on Viking Feast ice cream and, in the Sons of Norway lodge, traditional Norwegian fare. Miss Poulsbo Michaela Meeker and Miss Washington National Teenager Holly Wasson did face painting, transforming children into butterflies, Dalmatians and tigers.

Leikarringen and Bygdedansare dancers performed traditional dances in Kvelstad Pavilion. Attendees also made flower wreaths they could wear, and danced around the Maistang pole. Viking reenactors led a torchlight procession and lit a bonfire.

The next significant Norwegian cultural celebration: Jule Fest, a Scandinavian Christmas celebration in December.


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