Porter | It looked like family’s summertime reunion under the towering trees at the Chellberg Farm at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Saturday afternoon.
In a sense, it was, as the 18th annual Scandinavian Midsummer festival served to unite Duneland Scandinavian families and all those interested in celebrating the summer solstice with them.
Marilyn Arvidson, a coordinator of the annual festival, said the event celebrates the longest day of the year and has been observed in Scandinavia for centuries.
The event featured a maypole procession and Scandinavian dancing and singing. Volunteers demonstrated traditional crafts, including wood carving, cross stitch, and Hardanger embroidery, while a local musical group, Lingonberry Jam, provided traditional entertainment.
Festival visitors admired the 15 foot maypole draped with maple leaves and pink, fuchsia, yellow, and crimson carnations, roses, and lilies.
Some, like Autumn Colleen Smith, 5, even brought their own flowers to add to the decoration.
“We brought a snapdragon because the wind broke it,” said Autumn.
Autumn’s mom, Jenny Ancell, and grandmother, Cindy Cokusis, make it a point to bring Autumn to park events.
“My parents always brought me out here,” said Cokusis. “I’m Greek and I’m at a Swedish gathering.”
Ancell said Autumn has developed an appreciation for nature from being in the dunes.
“She is learning to be nice to nature,” said Ancell. “She’s told me I can’t kill any bugs.”
Grace Pachowicz and her aunt and cousins from Chicago were camping and heard about the festival.
“It’s nice for the kids to be involved,” said Pachowicz.
Arvidson, the event coordinator, said the festival was celebrated in the Duneland area as early as 1901, and in 1922, families came from Chicago on the train to participate in the event.
Arvidson, who has visited Sweden six times, told the crowd that her relatives in Sweden “always send greetings from across the ocean to enjoy the midsummer celebration.”
“It is a historical event that we wanted to recreate at this wonderful historical Swedish farm,” said Arvidson.