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Julefest to light up the night Saturday

POULSBO — Language, dancing, cooking and arts are just some of the ways visitors can experience the Norwegian culture at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway.

Saturday, lodge members are inviting the public to come see how they celebrate the season.

The Poulsbo Sons of Noway will be hosting holiday events from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Grieg Hall off Front Street and at Waterfront Park.

“We call it an all-day Scandinavian holiday festival,” lodge administrator Mariann Samuelsen said.

The lineup of events for Dec. 4 is:

• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Scandinavian art and gift items for sale at Grieg Lodge

• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Food served at Grieg Lodge. Menu includes meatball dinner, pea soup, Rommegrot, lefse, waffles and hot dogs, chips and soda

• 5-7 p.m. — Julefest celebration at Waterfront Park

Julefest, a family holiday event, will begin at 5 p.m. with the lighting of the community Christmas tree by Miss Poulsbo Canon Henness.

Entertainment will be furnished by the Vestre Sund Mannskor male chorus, which will sing holiday favorites in both English and Norwegian.

Dr. Roy Johnson will also entertain the crowd with tales of Norwegian Christmas traditions including the julenek (sheaf of oats), julebukk (straw goat) and julebukking (a holiday tradition something like a mixture between caroling and trick-or-treating). Norwegian exchange students Sjelde and Harald Andreassen will tell the story of Saint Lucia and will lead children and parents in traditional Norwegian Christmas songs and dances around the tree in the Kvelstad Pavilion.

The event culminates at about 6 p.m. with arrival of the Lucia Bride, which is heralded with the sound of a Viking signal horn. This year portrayed by Elisabet Moseng, St. Lucia will be ferried across the bay in a Viking long ship as Jane Landstra sings “Santa Lucia.”

Each year a young woman from the lodge is chosen to represent the Swedish saint, a young Christian who gave all her wealth to the poor and was martyred in the year 304.

The arrival of the Lucia Bride, a white gown and a lighted wreath on her head, has been marked in Poulsbo since the 1980s. The event, which is celebrated across Scandinavian countries, represents the arrival of light into the winter’s darkness.

From the Port of Poulsbo dock, the Lucia will be led by a solemn procession of torch-bearing Sons of Norway Vikings as well as princess Kristina Moseng.

At the community fire pit near the flag pavilion, the Lucia and Vikings will light a bonfire with a splinter of a traditional yule log that was brought to Poulsbo from Norway more than 30 years ago. Sons Vikings’ Magnus Maximus Brian Davis will give an invocation, explaining the tradition of the Lucia, julekubbe (log) and baal (bonfire) for the crowd.

The bonfire is a Norwegian tradition this time of year while the procession of the Lucia Bride, Samuelsen explained, is Swedish.

“So it really is a Scandinavian celebration,” she commented. “It’s partly Norwegian. It’s partly Swedish.”

Lastly Julefest will wrap up with Santa and Julenisse (little Santa) greeting children in the pavilion. This year’s Julenisse will be portrayed by Andrew Doornink. Children will get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and will receive a special treat.

Samuelsen said Julefest is an event that is enjoyed by young and old of many nationalities.

“Just to experience something new,” she said of why many newcomers attend.

Hot dogs and cocoa will be available for purchase during Julefest, which takes place regardless of weather. In the event of especially foul weather, some parts of the program may be changed.

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