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Little Norway hosts a Midsummer fling

POULSBO — It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, and it’s sure the heck not Superman, either. It’s a flying dogfish.

This Saturday the dogfish (dead, not alive) will be flying through the air at Poulsbo’s Waterfront Park as kids and adults test their tossing skill during the second annual Misdsummer Fest fisk kaste. The event, which made a splash during its debut last year, brought dozens of local kids to the line to try their luck at the slimy competition.

The toss is just one of many set up to entertain the entire family during the Sons of Norway’s tribute to the summer solstice.

The celebratory roots of the birth of John the Baptist — St. Hans Day — are actually of pagan origin and were the Norwegians way of welcoming summer to their often chilly homeland, according to Sons of Norway Administrator Mariann Samuelsen. Keeping with tradition, a Viking bonfire will help mark one of the longest days of the year (the true beginning of summer is this Friday).

The Sons will make up for a day off by filling the four-hour event with family-oriented fun. Kids can look forward to potato sack, balance beam and three-legged races for starters while adults enjoy Norwegian folk dancing, music and the solstice fire.

“The big bonfire ushers in the summer solstice. We are excited about this year’s Midsummer Fest,” explained publicity director Mary Graves, who said the Sons of Norway were expecting a much larger crowd than the 2001 event.

Despite all the activities, Graves and Samuelsen agreed that the fisk kaste typically steals the show and almost every dogfish — especially the dead ones — has their day at Midsummer Fest. Participants in the hilarious contest attempt to throw the fish into a bucket some distance away.

“I would say that it will be one of those highlight events. The fish toss is getting to be pretty popular,” Graves said.

When asked if she was going to give the event a whirl this year, Samuelsen laughed a bit before answering, “No, I’m going to watch.”

Samuelsen said although the popular toss is entering its second year at Waterfront Park, the Sons have been celebrating Midsummer Fest at the venue for about six years.

“You have to bring the kids,” she said.

“Yes, bring the kids. Bring the ones with strong arms and a good eye for aim,” Graves added with a laugh.

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