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Astoria’s Scandinavian Festival

Dancing around the Midsummer Pole. Astoria celebrates the 41st anniversary of its ever-popular Midsummer Scandinavian Festival June 20 through 22. Many activities have evolved from old-time Scandinavian traditions and take place at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds. Admission is $6 for an adult three-day button, $2 for children ages 6 through 12, and free for those 5 and under. Parking is $2 or $5 for a three-day pass.

Festivities begin Friday at 2 p.m., and that evening Miss Scandinavia is crowned. Everyone celebrates by burning hexes in a bonfire (for good luck) and then dancing the night away. The featured entertainment is Naustedalen Spelemannslag. This band from Norway provides singing and dancing throughout the weekend.

Saturday begins with The Troll Run, a three-option run/walk, 1.5, 3.0, or 5.75 miles, in the countryside, the Midnight Sun Scandinavian breakfast, and at 10 a.m. the Optog (walking parade) through downtown Astoria. Then it's onto the fairgrounds for the raising of the Midsummer Pole. Events and entertainment continue all day featuring dancing, music, and colorful folk costumes. All the ladies, young and old, keep an eye out for the Troll because he is such a notorious kisser. The day culminates in a Viking Feast and a concert by the Swedish Singers.

The next morning Pannukakku Breakfast is served by Rotary. Then the fun, food, and entertainment continue until closing ceremonies at 4 p.m. Although many locals have Scandinavian heritage, you don't have to be Scandinavian to attend or to get into the spirit of this midsummer celebration. (800-875-6807; www.astoriascanfest.com)

Oregon Coast May/June 2008

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