Astoria celebrates its Scandinavian heritage throughout the year, but especially at the summer solstice when days are the longest and nights the shortest. The annual Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival transports visitors back across the Atlantic, celebrating music, dance, food, and traditional Midsummer activities throughout the three day festival each June. Retail booths offer Scandinavian import items, handcrafts, and traditional Scandinavian foods such as, Finnish pancakes (pannukakku), and meatballs (frikadeller).
The 2023 Festival will be held June 16, 17, 18 2023. Highlights include a Torchlight Parade and Bonfire, the Festival Parade with Midsummer Pole raising and ring dancing, the Running of the Trolls, and the Empire of Chivalry and Steel’s Viking encampment with demonstrations of medieval crafts, tournaments, armor making, and combat arts. Scandinavian meals abound, from a Viking Dinner, and the Midnight Sun and Pannukakku Breakfasts to Aebleskiver and Meatball Eating Contests. The annual Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is held the third week of June each summer at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds. For more information and the schedule of events, visit the Festival website.
Astoria traces its Scandinavia heritage back more than a century to the waves of immigrants who arrived in the area during the last decades of the 19th century. The railroad’s completion from San Francisco to Astoria in 1870 meant easier travel for these immigrants from California north to Oregon to settle. They came from Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, driven from their homelands by poverty and the collapse of traditional farming methods in the Scandinavian peninsula. Many were fishermen, loggers, and farmers. By 1910, 35% of Astoria’s population was Scandinavian.
The location is at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds at 92937 Walluski Loop in Astoria. A 3-day wristband for adults is $10, children is $4. No pets allowed. Stay at Clementine’s Guest House and you’re only 5 miles from the festival. This event fills up the inn, so make your reservation soon.
Photo courtesy of Astoria Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce