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224Midsommar '08 News Release

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  • William Duncan
    Jun 11, 2008
      For more information contact
      Debbie Blanchette, New Sweden Historical Society, Chair of the
      Midsommar Committee
      email: newswede@...
      29 Station Road, New Sweden, Maine
      Visit www.MaineSwedishColony.info for a calendar of events

      For immediate release:

      137th Midsommar festival features Swedish music, activities, and culture

      Dateline: Maine Swedish Colony: New Sweden, Woodland, Stockholm,
      Westmanland, Connor, Madawaska Lake, Caribou

      “New Sweden Historical Society invites everyone to the s137th
      Midsommar Festival on June 21 and 22, 2008, in Maine’s Swedish
      Colony,” Debbie Blanchette, Midsommar committee chair, announced at a
      recent planning meeting.
      There are several additions this year. Special musical guests,
      Boston’s Stämbandet, travel up to share their traditional a cappella
      Scandinavian songs. They are singing at several events and giving a
      concert at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, at the Baptist Church. Lynn Johnson,
      chair of genealogy committee, is hosting a research table to help
      trace your Swedish roots. The Saturday Swedish supper is back this
      year sponsored by the G.A. Lutheran Church. The Woodland Historical
      Society’s Lagerstrom House Museum will be open on Sunday afternoon as
      well as Saturday.
      According to Blanchette, “the Swedish culture festival has historic
      tours, music, dancing, food, arts/crafts, and demonstrations.” She
      adds, “Midsommar is a lot of fun, everyone joins in decorating the
      Swedish Maypole or Majstång with flowers and green branches. We enjoy
      the colorful folk costumes and performances by the Little Folk
      Dancers. Last year’s popular Swedish dancing lessons are offered again
      for all ages. We are relearning the pleasure of group dancing.
      Although organized by the New Sweden Historical Society, Midsommar has
      become a major fundraiser for other Swedish Colony community groups
      and we all ask for donations.”
      Friday June 20, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., the Stockholm American Legion is
      putting on a Swedish meatball supper followed by the first session of
      dancing. The festival starts on Saturday, June 21, at 6:30 a.m. with
      the Midsommar Frukost (breakfast) until 9:00 a.m. Then the Capitolium
      (Capitol) Museum opens. The Capitolium was the center for Swedish
      settlers who immigrated in the 1870’s. It was meeting place, church,
      store, and town office. Behind the museum, the Lindsten Stuga, a
      traditional home, opens. Handcrafted items are raffled.
      The Capitol School Museum and Gift Shop has displays and Swedish gift
      items. Arts and crafts are near the Museum (artists call to reserve a
      space). Artists are encouraged to have demonstrations or activities.
      Everyone can decorate a traditional wooden Dala horse and craft a
      flower hair-wreath.
      The highlight of the Saturday celebration is raising the traditional
      Majstång (maypole) at 11 a.m. The Little Folk Dancers and everyone
      dance around the maypole. Hot dogs, sandwiches, sweets, and homemade
      ice cream are for sale. Bring your own seating.
      After the Majstång there are dance lessons and a chance to learn
      Swedish lawn bowling: kubb (pronounced “coob”). The Woodland
      Historical Society opens their Lagerstrom House Museum at the corner
      of the Beckstrom and Sealander Roads, and the Snowman School Museum on
      Woodland Center Road (Rt. 228). The Noak Blacksmith Shop and the
      Larsson/Ostlund historical house are open for tours and
      demonstrations. The First Baptist Church has an open house with the
      Stämbandet Concert there at 2:45 p.m. followed by an historic video by
      Brenda Jepson. The buildings are open until 4:00 p.m.
      At 4:30-6:00 p.m. a Swedish Supper is at the Gustaf Adolph Lutheran
      Church--no reservations necessary. Across town at the New Sweden
      School, is the Covenant Church Smörgåsbord. They serve at 5:00 and
      5:30 p.m. Get tickets now from Judy Holmquist, 207-498-3525 after 5:00
      p.m. After supper there is Swedish dancing at the school with live
      Sunday starts with a 10:00 a.m. Interfaith Church Service at historic
      W.W. Thomas Park followed by a buffet lunch in the park’s dining hall.
      Sunday’s highlight is the program at the park band shell. The event
      starts by parading the Majstång (Maypole) from the museum.
      Entertainment includes Stämbandet, the Little Folk Dancers, Swedish
      music, and raffle drawings.
      In the event of rain Saturday, all outdoor activities are postponed to
      Sunday, 12 noon, in the park. If it rains on Sunday, the church
      service would be at the G.A. Lutheran Church, lunch remains at the
      park dining hall, and the program would be at the New Sweden school.
      Please park in designated areas: town hall, Lutheran Church, behind
      North Star Variety, Baptist Church, Thomas Park, and Blacksmith shop.
      A shuttle bus stops between the school and the post office. At the
      museum, there is only handicapped parking and drop off. Parking is
      restricted to the north side of Station Road.
      The tradition of Midsommar is a celebration of the longest day of the
      year. In Europe, the holiday has a contentious religious history—the
      day has meaning for both pagans and Christians. The Swedish Colony
      Midsommar departs from old Sweden tradition by including more
      activities. Blanchette says, “Midsommar is a simple, warm, sharing
      time for our community and visitors—after our long winter, please come
      and enjoy the start of Maine’s summer.”

      For more information contact Debbie Blanchette, 207-896-5874; email newswede@...
      , postal address: 29 Station Road, New Sweden, Maine, or visit http://www.MaineSwedishColony.info
      for a calendar. Contact the Caribou Chamber of Commerce about
      accommodations at http://www.cariboumaine.net/ or (207) 498-6156.

      Pictured are Swedish dance lesson at the New Sweden school sponsored
      by The Maine Community Fund and Aroostook Savings and Loan. Keith
      Larson Photograph