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From Dancing Queen to Viking Games, the largest Nordic festival in Southern California is back

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Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup
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Nordic food, music and more are part of the festivities

The 45th Scandinavian Festival celebrates the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Nordic food, music, dancing - as well as the ancient Viking game of Kubb, are all part of the festivities this Saturday and Sunday at the 45th Scandinavian Festival at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

The festival director Mindy Miller told KCLU, she’s thrilled the community event is back after the pandemic.

“It’s been challenging to resurrect a large-scale community event like this post-pandemic, from reengaging volunteers to finding alternatives for performing groups and vendors that didn’t survive COVID-19–related challenges, but the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation has worked incredibly hard for nine months to make it happen,” said Miller. “We are thrilled to be back with a mix of popular longtime activities, new offerings and extended hours.”

For the first time, the festival will offer a games area for competitive activities, plus Viking chess, a strategy game from the Middle Ages. People also can play Dala horse croquet and the ancient Viking game of kubb.

Children’s Stage performances include acclaimed storyteller Robert Seutter (aka True Thomas), the musician and entertainer Ross Sutter and audience-participation productions of “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

The popular ABBAFab tribute band will headline the Main Stage at 5 p.m. each day. Other Main Stage performers include singer-songwriters Ann-Marita Garsed, Grim Bernhoft and Rainy Eyes, and the Swedish Folk Dance Club of Los Angeles.

In the Nordic Country Crafts Tent, children can make souvenirs representing each Scandinavian nation and earn a reward for collecting passport stickers from each activity. Children and adults can decorate head wreaths with flowers and ribbon and dance around the maypole.

Festivalgoers can wander through an authentic Viking village and a Sami siidastallan, or community gathering. They can ask a rune reader for advice, trace their family trees with the help of genealogy experts and buy Scandinavian handicrafts. Aebleskivers, Viking dogs, Swedish meatballs and other favorites will be available in the food court.

The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days with music, dancing, food, crafts, demonstrations, vendors and activities for people of all ages at Buth Park and Memorial Field.

Admission is free for kids 12 and younger and $15 for others. Tickets can be purchased in advance on Eventbrite. Parking is free. For more information, visit scandinavianfest.org

Cal Lutheran is the parent of KCLU.