October 29, 2012
For the past two nights a dedicated group has gathered to create hundreds of lefse by hand. The traditional Norwegian potato-based flat bread is a part of their heritage and something it looks forward sharing with the community at today's Viking Fair.
The third annual fair, presented by the local Sons of Norway, Gulldalen Lodge, is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Ponderosa Hall.
With Scandinavian vendors, food, demonstrations and music, many attendees are taken with memories of their own families and traditions. The event features a family-friendly atmosphere, much like a reunion, says organizers and expert lefse makers Arline Kenney and Siri Fenson.
Both women were part of a larger group hand-rolling the chilled lefse dough recently and recalling their own family traditions, based in the Norwegian culture. Discussions in the sun-filled kitchen centered on the finer points of rolling out the dough, exactly when to pull it off the griddle and the preferred methods of eating it — be it with butter, cinnamon and sugar, lingonberry or other jam or with a more savory spread. While each family has its own twist on lefse, one thing all the women agree on is that the only way to make it is by hand.
Kenney will demonstrate how to make lefse at the Viking Fair, including hand-rolling the dough into a thin circular shape, then moving the delicate lefse with a long wooden turning stick to the grill. At last year's fair, Kenney's demo nearly brought a woman to tears because the smell of the baking lefse brought on such strong memories of her grandmother's kitchen, Kenney said.
But Fenton and Kenney say you don't have to be of Scandinavian heritage to enjoy the family-friendly Viking Fair.
It's a chance to experience a bit of the culture while enjoying good food, such as meatballs with potatoes and gravy, waffles with sour cream and lingonberry jam, open-faced sandwiches and more. Music will be provided by Ben and Patsy Hannebink and Walter Grob. And of course, the Viking ship, which the lodge 'sails' in local parades, will be on hand. There are more than 100 people involved in the local Sons of Norway fraternal organization. The Gulldalen Lodge celebrated its 30th birthday this year. The group supports many local charities, including Sierra Services for the Blind, Hospitality House, Food Bank of Nevada County and the Wounded Warriors Family Support. Some proceeds raised from the Viking Fair will be given to those nonprofits.
Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 12. Those 5 and younger are free. Each ticket gets entered into a raffle for a door prize.
For information, call (530) 432-8311 or (530) 273-2018.