“Little Norway” to host Julefest after being canceled last year

After having its annual holiday event canceled last year due to COVID-19, the Poulsbo Sons of Norway will again be holding Julefest Dec. 4 to honor Nordic culture and heritage in the city known as “Little Norway.”

Julefest will consist of three components: Nordic Market, Taste of Norway and the Viking Bonfire.

The Nordic Market will include local artisans displaying and selling Scandanavian jewelry, rosemaling, collectibles, wooden crafts, candles, soaps and other gifts. There will also be a silent auction and artisan demonstrations.

The Taste of Norway offers a variety of foods available for purchase. Authentic items include ertesuppe (pea soup), polser (hot dogs), lefse (soft flatbread), sursild (pickled herring), smakaker (cookies) and rommegrot (porridge), among others.

When Viking Fest was canceled, SON publicity director Lizbeth Doving said they held a mini Taste of Norway at their lodge, and they sold food on the streets of downtown.

“We were surprised how many people came up to the booth,” she said. “There’s a lot of foodies out there, and people are more experimenting nowadays. Scandinavian culture, right now, is super popular. This Taste of Norway is going to be the most authentic we’ve ever had …”

At dusk, the Viking Bonfire will take place at Waterfront Park. Vikings will row the Santa Lucia bride to shore where she’ll light the ceremonial bonfire. This year, the Santa Lucia bride will be Katerina Krauss, the SON lodge princess. Then the Viking king will recite the winter solstice proclamation.

“There’ll be dozens of friendly Vikings,” Doving said. “It’s just a beautiful celebration. It’s truly unique to Poulsbo.”

Julefest will be held from 10 a.m. until dusk Dec. 4 at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway, 18891 Front St.

Doving said many Scandanavian and Norwegian organizations nationwide hold their own versions of Julefest to celebrate the beginning of the Nordic holiday season. In Norwegian, Christmas means Jule, so Julefest translates to Christmas party. Poulsbo Julefest dates back to 1980 when a yule log was shipped from Norway.

“Historically, (Poulsbo) was very authentically Norwegian because there were so many immigrants,” Doving said. “While the history is super strong, there aren’t as many Norwegians that live here as say a generation ago. But we still pride ourselves very much in the Norwegian heritage.”

Doving said the number of people who attend each year ranges from hundreds to thousands. There is no admission fee. Due to COVID masks will be required and hand sanitizing stations will be available.

SON will also be holding a Santa breakfast Dec. 5. Doving said it will be a no-contact Santa due to COVID. Then on Dec. 15, SON will be hosting the return of Kaffe Stua, a luncheon where Norwegian open-faced sandwiches will be served.

“Scandinavians are really known for their open-faced sandwiches, sort of like little works of art,” Doving said.

The Santa Lucia bride walks to light the ceremonial Viking bonfire at the 2019 Poulsbo Julefest.

The Santa Lucia bride walks to light the ceremonial Viking bonfire at the 2019 Poulsbo Julefest.