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Oh, those Midsummer nights

Summer celebration hits shores of Liberty Bay at 4 p.m. Saturday.

POULSBO — A summer solstice celebration is again set to alight the shores of Liberty Bay. But this year the party is one with an emphasis on the past.

“We’re looking back on our history a little bit this year,” said Sons of Norway Youth Director Joanne Graves.

The lodge and the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association will host Midsummer Fest on June 21 — the longest day of the year. Along with the usual smattering of Scandinavian dancing, song, games and dishes, this year the Sons are employing some unique memorabilia from the Viking City’s heritage. The event begins at 4 p.m.

“This event, like Julefest, is one of those things where we look back at our roots,” Graves said. “It’s about bringing the past and the present — the generations — together, remembering Poulsbo’s heritage and looking forward to a wonderful future for the area.”

To celebrate Poulsbo’s history and its centennial year, the Poulsbo Historical Society will set up displays in the Sons’ lodge. Jerry Reitan will dock his Poulsbo Boat for display, and Sharon Reitan is set to bring a bounad from Ostfold, the fylke where Paulsbo, Norway, is located. The bounad once belonged to former Mayor Andrew Moe’s mother.

But aside from its emphasis on history, the thing the event is all about this year and every year is summer.

“It’s about summertime,” Graves said, adding it’s something “the whole community can get behind.”

Families can come enjoy the Vikings’ presence, dance exhibitions, the raising of the maypole, wood carving, flower wreath making, face painting and even a fish toss, among other things.

Graves said Nordic cream porridge favorite Rommegrot will be onhand, along with pea soup and lefse.

Festivities begin with the call of the lur, and the night rounds out with a 6:20 p.m. torch light procession, followed by the telling of Viking sagas around the bonfire by James the Obscure.

“Our forefathers here in Poulsbo used to build a bonfire on a raft on the beach of Liberty Bay and push it out into the bay,” she said. Now, the waterfront bon fire is reminiscent of that, and provides the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the warm weather and late sunset.

For more information on the event’s schedule, call the Sons of Norway lodge at (360) 779-5209.

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