Scandinavian Fair brings traditions

Story by Jake Kaiser

Winter is a time to celebrate and what better way to celebrate than going to Portland’s 35th annual Scandinavian Fair market. ScanFair is a great way to get into the holiday spirit with it hosting a wide assortment of fun family and individual activities both influenced by and directly taken from the three kingdoms of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

ScanFair is packed with stands containing all sorts of Scandinavian food and drinks like Swedish sausage, Aquavit, split pea soup, glug punch and various kinds of baked goods. The pickled herring eating contest on Saturday and for a main course you can get as many Swedish meatballs as you want in the meatball eating contest on Sunday. Once you finish lunch you can head over to one of the various merchant stands and pick up a souvenir like a handmade bag, a carved wooden sculpture, or even a woven pillow for those nights you stay up late studying.

Ingvill Montgomery, who works the Hovden Formal Farm Wear stand, has been attending ScanFair for years even before she was a vendor.

“Traditional and modern Scandinavia go hand in hand,” Montgomery said. “There is great food, great entertainment, the vendors are amazing and it’s all a community effort.”

The Fair also boasts several activities that anyone can join in on. Sassa Carver from Nordic Northwest, which is heading up the event, said, “While most of the activities are geared towards children, they are still open to anyone who wishes to participate in them.”

Activities and events include a craft area for the kids, a historically accurate Viking encampment and the Scandinavian Scavenger Hunt that anyone can sign up for. There will be entertainment such as traditional Scandinavian dancers, live music, a Viking fashion show, art demo, a raffle drawing and the event’s centerpiece, the official Oregon Saint Lucia Court, where Saint Lucia is adorned with her crown of candles. On your way out you can also pay a visit to the Finnish Santa Claus.

The ScanFair will be held on Dec. 7 and 8 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. For more information on the event, you can visit their Facebook event page, or go to the Nordic Northwest website. Tickets are $10 for adults and $9 for students.