A Scandinavian celebration to welcome summer in Shrewsbury

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A Scandinavian celebration to welcome summer in Shrewsbury
Sights and scenes from the 120th Scandinavian Midsummer Festival. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – Hundreds of community members gathered at Shrewsbury’s Scandinavian Athletic Club on June 24 as the Swedish National Federation of Worcester presented the 120th Scandinavian Midsummer Festival.

The festival, which lasted nearly six hours and sprawled into a building and throughout the surrounding park, commemorated and celebrated the return of summer. 

“We had so much fun at the midsummer festival,” event attendee Alison Strömberg MacDonald told the Community Advocate. “We had a great time and it made us excited for our upcoming trip to Sweden this summer.”

Numerous vendors lined the festival grounds to sell Scandinavian goods. At one booth, attendees fashioned wearable flower crowns. The event’s website calls the crowns one of the most “beautiful parts of the tradition of midsummer.”

The festival also featured live traditional Scandinavian music from accordionist Dan Mackowiak and the SAC Spelmanslag. To the upbeat tune of violins, guitars and several other instruments, several community members hoisted the midsummer maypole – an over 20-foot pole adorned with greenery – into position. Event attendees began to ring dance around the pole soon after; smiles filled the front lawn.

Later in the afternoon, vocalist Sarah Callinan and pianist Michelle Horsley performed several songs in honor of Swedish singer Jenny Lind. 

The Boston Viking Irish were also at the festival, entertaining attendees with their historical Viking encampment, ongoing combat demonstrations and interactive games.

Long lines formed for homemade Swedish meatballs served with mashed potatoes, gravy, cucumber salad and lingonberries. Havarti grilled cheese, fresh strawberries and almond cake were also on the menu. 

Coloring and several other exciting events were available for the younger crowd. 

The mostly outdoors event was uninterrupted by the gray skies and brief periods of rain.

The Scandinavian Athletic Club shared an apt Swedish expression on Facebook shortly before the event began.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather – just inadequate clothing,” the post read.

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