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The Oldest Bygdelag in America - 1899

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Stevne 2005
Approximately 135 members gathered for the 106th anniversary stevne of the Valdres Samband at the Willmar (MN) Conference Center.  David and Kari Kringstad and Diane Lerohl greeted attendees at the registration table. Paul Scheffel created a colorful "Kaffe Stue" sign to point folks to the hospitality room where coffee and cookies were available throughout the stevne.  Be Gunelson posted about fifteen large family trees from the estate of Carl Narvestad on the walls of the genealogy room.  One of the more interesting names on the charts was "Thorfinn 'Skull Cleaver', Jarl of Orkney!"

 

The stevne in pictures!

 

CLICK HERE for photos of the stevne

 

Thursday, June 17, 2005

The most popular activity on Thursday was the area tour.  59 people toured Norwegian sites in northern Kandiyohi County, where the 1900 census reported that 95 percent of Norway Lake Township had Norwegian ancestry!

  • The route followed County Road 5 and past by the place where Indians attacked the Guri Endreson home in 1862. Several settlers sought shelter on an island in Norway Lake that later became known as the "Isle of Refuge".

  •  Earl Knutson, Ed Huseby, and Pastor Joel Njus of the Norway Lake Lutheran Historical Association, guided tour-goers through the grounds and interiors of a replica log church (the original build in 1866) and original cabin. A video titled "The Log Church Story" described the construction efforts.

  •  Our next stop was the two-story log cabin built by Earl Knutson's great-grandparents.

  • The Green Lake Bible Camp is home to a stave church.

  • The tour ended with a stop at The House of Jacobs in downtown Willmar for samples of their famous lefse and ginger cookies and coffee.

The Get Acquainted Social offered Kransekake, cookies and coffee to about 60 people. A beautiful Kransekake made by president Doris Hayes, was on display while attendees greeted old friends and chatted with new friends.

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.  "The Centennial Period of the Valdres Samband, 1994-2004" was published in time to be on sale in the Book Sales area.

Five seminars took place on Friday:

  • Be Gunelson provided tips on genealogy. 

  • Aaron Hanson described the "Valdres Samband Video Project."  He edited videotaped interviews with members to create an oral history DVD.

  • Kim Holland, Administrative Director of the Norwegian-American Historical Association spoke on "What is NAHA? What can it do for you?"

  • Doug Ohman presented photographs of "Norwegian Churches in Minnesota"  in a sequel to his popular 1999 presentation, "Goin' Churchin'."

  • Sandra Robinson, niece of author Rakel Erickson, talked about Rakel's translations of Norwegian folk tales.

A reunion of 2004 Fagernes tour participants offered the 15 people who gathered a chance to share photos, scrapbooks, and memories about that wonderful experience.

After Friday evening's dinner, President Doris Hayes welcomed everyone and Robert Lerohl acted as emcee. Doug Reese, Willmar city council member and acting mayor, welcomed everyone to Willmar.  Jens Aksel Moberg of Valdres greeted members and read a message from Knut Torgersen, mayor of South Aurdal and chairman of the Valdres regional council. The Sons of Norway Fedraheimen I-59 Choir presented a wonderful program of Norwegian music. Choir Director Norma Snelling's humorous stories kept everyone laughing between songs.  Hardanger fiddler Stephanie Hendrickson played two selections.  The evening's entertainment concluded with Ole and Sven (Rich Besel and Keith Olson) whose thick Norwegian accents made their Scandihoovian jokes just that much more laughable.      

Saturday, June 20, 2005

Saturday morning, the executive board met for breakfast at 7:30.  Saturday's seminars included

  • Anne Sladky speaking about doing genealogy research on the Internet

  • Jens Aksel Moberg, who runs Smak av Valdres (Taste of Valdres) and a tour company called Valdres Arrangement  talked about "Valdres Today and Tomorrow"

  • Earl Knutson, one of the guides on the Thursday tour, talked about the log cabin owned by his great-grandfather Ole Knudson.

The Silent Auction closed at noon.  This year's auction generated $962.50 for genealogy equipment and resources.

Harold Lerohl and Jan Lerohl were in charge of the 1:30 Sing-Along.  Jan provided the piano accompaniment as Harold led participants in singing "O Valdres," "Per Spellmann," and other favorites.

75 members were present for the Samband's business meeting.  All officers were re-elected.  Thomas Thoreson was re-elected to a three year term on the board. Bev Tellefsen was elected to replace outgoing director  Stanley Hippe. Gerri Lovehaug of Maple Grove MN was the winner of a drawing for a print of the painting, "Hjelle i Valdres, 1850" by J. C. Dahl.

Reverend Joel Njus led the Memorial Service and spoke on "our ancestors were people of great faith." Andy Karlsgodt reading the names of departed members and those gathered sang "For All the Saints".

Al and Ann Stevens greeted members as they arrived for the Festive Gjestebø on Saturday evening.  President Hayes presented certificates of appreciation to the stevne planning commission and recognized the efforts of Paul Scheffel and Aaron Hanson in authoring the latest Samband history.

The Parade of Bunads was led by Stephanie Hendrickson playing her Hardanger fiddle.

The Call of the Lur was played by Howard Lerohl to open the evening program, with Earl Evenstad acting as emcee.  After comments and greetings by Marilyn Somdahl and Jahn Børe Jahnsen (as read by Doris Hayes) Roger Hellesvig arrived as Ole Olson and described the difficulties he encountered immigrating to America.  Det Norske Folkedanslaget (The Norwegian Folk Dance Group) was led by Carol Sersland.  Fiddlers Hannah Brown, and Mary Seim provided the music . After the wonderful dance program ended, Gayle Struska and Jeanie Wills read teh Resolutions, thanked everyone for attending, and encouraged them to make plans to come together again at St Olaf College in Northfield next year.

The evening concluded with the audience singing "God Bless America."  Sharon Hotchkiss sang the first verse, with Harold Lerohl leading the singing of the refrain.

[2006 [2004]


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