Poulsbo’s Sons is set to turn 90

POULSBO — Even before the Sons of Norway formally organized in 1916, Norwegian culture had been a staple of life in Poulsbo.

Now nine decades after signing its charter on Feb. 22, 1916, the Sons is celebrating 90 years of doing its part to keep the city’s nickname, “Little Norway,” alive and well.

“It’s very important for us to reach 90 years and, more than ever, we are focused on our culture,” said Sons of Norway administrator Mariann Samuelsen.

Through the ebb and flow of the years, the Sons has seen times change and, Samuelsen said, with the arrival of the 21st century came a renewed emphasis on the group’s mission “... to promote, preserve and cherish a lasting appreciation of the heritage and culture of Norway and other Nordic countries...”

“Over the last six or seven years, we’ve taken a more active role within the community and I think joining the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association was an important part of that,” she said.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Sons of Norway lodge was known more for its bar — the Troll’s Den — than its cultural education efforts, but that is changing, Samuelsen said.

“We’re focusing more on families and events where children can attend,” she added.

In addition to its children’s dancing group, the Sons now offers Norwegian language classes for children on Monday afternoons and holds a heritage camp during the week leading up to Midsommer Fest.

Events such as the Wednesday Kaffe Stua luncheon as well as the lutefisk dinner are all part of its cultural promotion and preservation efforts.

Another positive addition to the Sons has been the leadership of President Bob Moseng, Samuelsen said. Moseng, a native Norwegian, has brought the lodge’s cultural aspect to the forefront, she said.

His commitment to imparting the Norwegian culture to others was never more evident than during the Sons’ heritage camp last summer, Samuelsen said.

“When I saw him sit on the floor with his legs crossed and teach kids Norwegian and got up and played his hardinger fiddle, I’ve never had more hope for or been proud of the Sons of Norway than that,” Samuelsen said.

Sons cultural director Grace Overby said the 90th birthday festivities are just small part of the Sons.

“We’re just continuing on and even doing more,” Overby said. “We continue to be living up to our mission.”

The 90th birthday festivities are slated to kick off at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 with a social hour followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, call (360) 779-5209.

Saturday: A look back at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway’s first 90 years.

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