This was the fourth year in a row we have been to the Astoria Midsummer Scandinavian Fest. We always made a point to look ahead on the calender at book a room at The Commodore for this weekend. This time, however, we cancelled our months-in-advance reservations because we sort of spontaneously moved here instead. This was the first year we were able to go to the first night to see the opening festivities and the burning of the hexes.
As we arrived, strolled through the Clatsop County Fairgrounds and followed our natural inclinations over to the beer garden. We caught a few songs played by Double J & the Boys, whose lyrics I remember now from previous years. There was also a troll in the garden, giving out kisses. I got a photo with him later.
We go way back.
We had a beer or two and waited for the Torchlight Procession and Bonfire. If there is an event where things are getting lit on fire, I’m going to find a way to see it. We had always missed the burning of the hexes.
Hexes are little straw people symbolizing bad luck for the year. Everyone in the crowd got one. Probably a hundred people or more followed the newly crowned Miss Scandinavian to throw our hexes into a burn barrel. Quite a lot of the folks were in the traditional costumes of the countries and regions. Or in the very least, they were wearing ski sweaters with snowflakes on them.
Waiting to light the torches. I like how in this photo, the accordion player is ready to let the effigy just HAVE IT. He’s about to unleash some violent polka on some bad luck effigy ass.
Bad luck banished for another year.
These ladies missed the hex burning, so back at the beer garden, they wrote their hexes on crackers and tossed them into the fire. I think this is a genius idea on many levels. I have always been suspicious of saltines.
The festival booths closed for the evening, so we hunkered down in the beer garden next to a roaring fire. We listened to the lovely music of Maiastra, visiting from Sweden, as the sun went down.
A fantastic evening. I am so glad we finally made it to the festival on the first night. We returned for pannukakku (Finnish pancakes) (delicious) and to stroll the festival booths on Sunday morning. The Midsummer Scandinavian Festival always falls right around Father’s Day, so my Popsidoodle always gets goodies from this fair. Maybe one year, I’ll figure out how to send him the Troll for a big fat kiss.