Local Scandinavian group wins best float at Parade | TheUnion.com

Local Scandinavian group wins best float at Parade

A Viking ship built by members of the local Sons of Norway won first prize for best float (pictured above) at the annual Constitution Day Parade this weekend.

The award was announced Monday for the 24-foot-long, 16-foot-high ship that sailed down Broad Street during Sunday’s parade. It will be christened Oct. 13 at the immigrant group’s monthly meeting at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, associate member Max Fenson said.

“We wanted to give our (local chapter) more regional visibility,” Fenson said, explaining why the ship was built. “We believe Sons of Norway has a story to tell because we are concerned with Norwegian heritage and culture.”

Sons of Norway has more than 69,000 members in North America and Norway. Founded initially as an insurance organization for Norwegian immigrants in Minneapolis in 1895, the group now promotes and preserves Norwegian culture.

The local Gulldalen Lodge was founded in 1982 and has about 110 members. The word “Gulldalen” means “golden dale,” Fenson said.

About a dozen members of the Lodge constructed the ship, Fenson said.

“We started in March, worked one day a week until about a couple of weeks ago,” he added. “The lodge has a couple of expert contractors. Then we have a 96-year-old retired industrial arts school teacher who designed the figurehead on the ship. The sail was made by one of our members who has a commercial sewing machine.”

The Gulldalen Lodge received a $500 grant from the national Sons of Norway to build the ship, Fenson added. The entire project cost about $750, he estimated.

“The whole idea of the ship is to let the community know that Sons of Norway is an active and viable organization,” said Harold Nelson, president of the local chapter. “We want people to be aware we are here.”

The Viking ship “shows the diversity and the makeup of the community,” Fenson said. “It shows we have Norwegian members who are a cultural resource for the community.”

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