Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
SWEDESBURG — Another small town in Iowa plans to go big for tradition like only small towns can.
Friday and Saturday June 17-18 the Swedish American Museum and Historical Society of Swedesburg will celebrate Midsommer and the museum’s 30 year anniversary.
Swedesburg is a sweet little town situated on Highway 218 between Olds and Mt. Pleasant.
The town is easily recognizable by the large Julbock.
A Julbock is a traditional Swedish Christmas decoration created from straw and red ribbons.
Swedesburg’s Julbock resides outside the town near Highway 218 beckoning visitors to the town.
The Swedish Heritage Society and Historical Foundation Grant Writer Ceanne Alvin, from Olds, is excited to invite the surrounding communities to join them as they celebrate a traditional Swedish holiday.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” Alvin said. “It is a wonderful evening of Swedish music by Swedish musicians, with a time to honor immigrant families. We also raise the Majstång, sometimes called the May Pole.”
Friday, June 17 the Majstång will be decorated at Parish Hall, music will be performed by Jaerv, and a four to five generation Swedish immigrant family will be honored Friday.
“I really like Jaerv, they’re very good,” Alvin said. “They are dynamic. They are a mix of folk and jazz. They last performed in 2019. They're top notch and have played all over Europe. I look forward to hearing them again.”
Alvin is most excited to attend the genealogy presentation scheduled to kick off events Saturday.
“My dad was an immigrant,” she said. “All of his brothers and sisters immigrated from Sweden in 1916. We have celebrated our ancestry my whole life, and many descendants are still interested in their genealogy and history.”
According to Alvin, this small town’s big celebration is being put together by just a handful of volunteers, including the museum’s 97-year-old Executive Director Louise Unkrich.
According to Louise Unkrich’s great granddaughter Louise Unkrich Doepking, Louise is one of the last original settlers in Swedesburg.
“We are so proud of this,” Unkrich Doepking said with obvious pride for the museum and her town.
The Midsommer festivities will include Swedish fiddle lessons, a viking re-enactment, a Battle of Visby presentation, the Majstång (May Pole) dance, more music, and a quilt raffle.
Even before the festivities kick off, tickets for the quilt raffle can be purchased at the museum in person or over the phone.
These tickets will remain available until 3 p.m. Saturday.
All events are free and open to the public thanks to the American Scandinavian Foundation’s, Enhance Henry County Foundation’s, and the Iowa Department of Cultural affairs’ grants and donations.