If you can’t wait until May to celebrate Norwegian Heritage Month, Stoughton has a two-day event that’s “a Norwegian weekend of fun.”
Destination Stoughton started seven years ago to promote Stoughton’s Norwegian culture, Sons of Norway-Mandt Lodge president Darlene Arneson told the Hub.
“In Stoughton we are rich in that heritage.” Arneson said. “It is another way to help us educate people about the importance of connecting with their roots.”
There are 12 different events between Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 in the downtown area. Each has some Norwegian tie.
Stoughton Norwegian Summit group, organizes the event annually. The group comprises more than 20 Stoughton area organizations, businesses, individuals and nonprofits that support Norweigian activities.
The group came together in 2011, after a grant from the Sons of Norway Foundation launched the fall event, and now it plans two festivals; Destination Weekend and Norse Afternoon of Fun in February.
In addition to several history and heritage events, there’s music and dancing, and the weekend includes a Halloween contest and trick-or-treating that have been a staple of Stoughton’s downtown for years.
Two businesses downtown have specialty items for sale on Friday and Saturday. Nordic Nook 176 W. Main St. celebrates this weekend and its anniversary with a sweater sale. Woodland Studio at 195 E. Main St. has original Nowegian and Scandinavian folk art artifacts dating from the 1600s to 1900s for sale, including local roseled pieces by Per Lysne and Ethel Kvalheim.
For information, visit the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce website at stoughtonwi.com
History and heritage
On Friday, visitors can tour the Historic Depot and Museum from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 532 E. Main St. The depot was built in 1913 and contains railroad memorabilia and an extensive collection of farm tools, wagons, cutters and industrial items.
Livreise, located at 277 W. Main St., has a variety of attractions over the weekend. On display will be an exhibit of 26 black and white photos titled “Rocks and Hard Places-Through the Lens of Knud Knudson”. The exhibit explores emigration through first person accounts, family histories and pictures from the famous photographer.
The Wisconsin State Rosemaling Associaton’s Holiday Bazaar returns for another year from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at Stoughton Fire Department, 401 E. Main St. The bazaar will feature wooden furniture and objects that are painted in the famous Norwegian art form with flowers and scrolls.
Kathleen Ernst will make a special appearance at the Stoughton Historical Society 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 to hear about Stoughton’s history, Norwegian settlement and its role in reviving rosemaling.
Then the group will move to the Sons of Norway-Mandy Lodge 317 S. Page St. to hear about Ernst’s recently released book “Fiddling With Fate.” This is the 10th book in the Chloe Ellefson series, which is a mix of history, mystery and romance. The main character, Chloe Ellefson, is from Stoughton. The event required pre-registration, which closed Oct. 15.
Music, dance and fun
The Edvard Grieg Chorus of Madison, a male choir dedicated to performing Norweigian folk songs, plans to play at Livreise 1 p.m. Saturday.
Norwegian Dancers plan to judge a children’s Halloween costume contest 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Community building, 320 North St. The contest is for children up to age 12 and organized by the Chamber of Commerce.
After winners are announced, the dancers will perform at 2 p.m. before making their way to downtown trick or treating at 3 p.m. Downtown businesses that are participating in the event will have a sign displayed and trick or treaters are welcome from 3-5 p.m.