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Sons of Norway members hard at work at the fair booth.

The Sons of Norway promotes Nordic heritage every year at the Richland County Fair. This group is an international fraternal benefit society that promotes, preserves, and cherishes the heritage of Norway and other Nordic countries. The first lodge was formed on January 16, 1895 on the promise to preserve a rich culture of knowledge and skills. Here in Sidney we are privileged to have Lodge #489. According to Charlotte Anvik, the group's social director, the Sons of Norway provides on a regular basis many opportunities to learn about and enjoy this wondrous culture through activities provided to the public.

From cooking lessons for those interested in the tastes and smells of Norwegian cuisine, carving classes that focus on traditional techniques, stitchery of traditional world design, knitting that uses Nordic patterns and colors, to Norwegian language instruction and rosemaling painting, this group provides a large array of amazing learning opportunities. An interesting note to be made here, as Charlotte informed me, is that the local stitching group has been meeting for over thirty years. The skills of artistry are beautiful and detailed and show the dedication of the members to their ancestry.

Rosemaling painting is a technique that many of us have seen regularly in our lives but maybe did not quite know the heritage. Rosemaling is a traditional Norwegian style of painting that uses vibrant bold colors and shading that is folkloric. It came into existence around 1750 in the low-land eastern areas of Norway. The term "rosemaling" itself means decorative painting. More information can be found at the local heritage center or at The pieces that are on display at the lodge are festive and use the curves and floral images that are present in traditional rosemaling techniques.

This year the Sons of Norway will again provide their traditional menu at the Richland County Fair from July 31 to August 4. The Sons of Norway food booth at the fair has a long history of providing traditional foods from the Nordic heritage. They will be serving Vikings, the Norwegian fried batter dipped meatball on a stick, and Norskis, fried bread dough with a sugar and cinnamon dusting, as well as beverages. The Sons of Norway booth is located in the long row of food booths at the Richland County Fairgrounds just across from the old commercial building.

The success of this fundraising effort is primarily due to the volunteer hours of members and friends of the Sons of Norway Lodge #489 according to Lodge President Mark Halvorson. However, Halvorson also states that "it is also a community effort and the members of the Lodge are very grateful for other contributions such as the use of the former M3 Meats and the Baker Boy facilities to prepare the Vikings and the Elks Lodge for donating ice." Proceeds from this food sale go toward maintaining the Sons of Norway Cultural Center located at 714 E. Main, Sidney, managing Lodge business, funding Sons of Norway social functions and continued promotion of the Sons of Norway through donations to area-wide community organizations.


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