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The Oldest Bygdelag in America - 1899

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Stevne 2004
Approximately 125 members gathered for the 105th anniversary stevne of the Valdres Samband.  At the registration table, one of the first things members noticed was a large banner on the wall stating "Welcome Valdres Samband June 17-20, 2004."  The banner was provided by the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau.  The Bureau's on-site representative, Ruthie Lanning, was at the registration table with Kari Kringstad, Diane Lerohl, and other volunteers.  The name tags, also provided by the Bureau, included a colorful Norwegian flag.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The most popular activity on Thursday was the area tour.  According to Past President Eindride "Andy" Karlsgodt, "It was a great tour."

  • The first stop was the Sons of Norway Kringen Lodge #25, the largest lodge in the country. Andy particularly enjoyed the "Trollstue" lounge, with 22 trolls carved by Norwegian Arvid Kristoffersen.  Swede Severson of Fargo noted that Thursday is "pie day" at Sons of Norway.  Members enjoyed a delicious lunch and dessert.  Andy noted that "There were more pies than you could shake a stick at" -- he had a strawberry pie with whip cream on it.

  • Next stop was the Hjemkomst Interpretive Center and Hopperstad Stave Church Replica in Moorhead.  Participant Romelle Haugen of Fridley MN said that "Our tour was very good."  Her husband Lee added that the tour guide was very knowledgeable.

The Get Acquainted Social began at 7:00 pm and drew about 75 people.  Attendees sipped coffee and punch and shared stories.  Many talked about their upcoming plans for the trip to Norway. Others talked about how they met.

  • First-time stevne-goers Curtis and Ann Thompson of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan spoke about how they met member Cleone Goodwin of Austin, Minnesota.  In September of 2003, Curtis and Ann had traveled to Austin to research Curtis' great-grandfather, Knudt Thompson Hjelle of Vestre Slidre.  Through the pastor's wife at Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, they cam into contact with an unknown relative, Cleone, and she later encouraged them to join the Valdres Samband.  Curtis and Ann then encouraged Curtis' sister  Willis McClymont and her husband George to attend the stevne as well. Cleone's husband Nathan was also present at the Get Acquainted Social.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Activity in the Genealogy Room as well as the Arts & Crafts room picked up on Friday after a slow start on Thursday.   Several vendors were on hand this year.  Ernie Grafsgaard, a chip carver from Moorhead, was at his first Valdres Samband stevne.  He was selling hand-carved plates.

Six seminars took place on Friday:

  • Be Gunelson provided tips on genealogy. 

  • Odell Bjerkness, a professor emeritus of Concordia College of Moorhead, presented two seminars: "Viking Settlements" and "Daily Life of Vikings." 

  • Linda Palmer of Borton Overseas briefed members about the upcoming stevne in Fagernes and answered many questions.

  • Dr. Arthur O. Lee spoke about "Today's Norway." 

  • Ann Gesme talked about "Travel in Norway" and the evolution of customs and manners over the past 300 years.

After Friday evening's dinner, President Micheal Bergan welcomed members.  Dale Lammi was emcee for the evening.  After the singing of the national anthems led by Howard Lerohl and accompanied by Diane Lerohl, Cole Carley of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitor's Bureau, Dr. Paul Dovre, president of Concordia College, Marilyn Somdahl, president of Bygdelagenes Fellesraad all offered greetings.  The main entertainment was a concert of both Norwegian and American music by the Fargo-Moorhead Master Chorale, led by Lowell H. Larson.  The concert closed with the choir leading the audience in singing "O Valdres. 

Saturday, June 20, 2004

Saturday morning, the executive board met for breakfast.  Seminars included Dr. Joan Buckley's presentation about the comic strip "Per and Ole."  Gladys Hendrickson spoke about the restoration of stave churches in Norway.

After lunch near the indoor pool, an afternoon Sing-Along was led by Howard Lerohl with Jan Lerohl on piano.

The Samband's business meeting included several reports and election of officers after which Michael Bergan symbolically passed the gavel to new president Doris Hayes.

At the Memorial service, Joanne Schlanser read the names of the departed and the audience sang verses four and five of "O Day Full of Grace." 

The Festive Gjestebø was held in a large banquet room. Hilda Kringstad, a member of the Samband for 70 years and board member for 45 years (including a stint as president from 1980-1983), received a certificate of appreciation on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

The "Parade of Bunads" was led by Rachel Ulvin, playing a Hardanger fiddle.

The evening program was announced with the Call of the Lur, played by Howard Lerohl.  The emcee for tthe evening was Eleanor Schultz.  After singing the national anthems, Doris Hayes read a greeting from Jahn Børe Jahnsen and Eleanor Schultz read a greeting from the Honorary Consul for Norway, the Honorable Ronald McLean. Rachel Ulvin, who is a member of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America, performed followed by a performance by Eric Bergeson, who played piano and sang and then followed with humorous stories about rural life. The resolutions were read by Jeanie and Stephen Wills, and the evening concluded with the audience singing "God Bless America.

Sunday, June 20, 2004 

A special Sunday service was held at the Hopperstad Stave Church in Moorhead.  Pastor Dale Skatrud led the service, which followed the Concordia Hymnal - the black Lutheran worship book.  Rachel Ulvin played the fiddle and led the group out of the church at the close of the service. 

                                                                    

[2005]  [2003] [Norwegian Stevne 2004]                                                                              


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