Norwegian-American Bygdelag Centennial

 Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, July 29-31, 1999 

(See write-up on our "Summer 1999 Trip to Iowa" page.)

  Peg enjoys the flowers on the Luther College campus. This was taken next to the Centennial Union building were much of the Bygdelag was centered.

  Just 2 of many - the "Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa" or RAGBRAI XXVII was on the Luther College campus for the night - 15,000 participants! 8,000 were cyclists, the rest were support staff. Quite a crowd of healthy, friendly cyclists.

The late Dr. Marion Nelson, Univ. MN Prof. Emeritus of Art History; Director Emeritus of Vesterheim. We were honored to attend the presentations of this knowledgeable and articulate expert in things related to Norwegian and Norwegian-American art.

  Another excellent presenter: Educator & author Ann Urness Gesme. Here she talks on "life in rural Norway in the 1800's." Her book Between Rocks and Hard Places is a "must read." Her's and Dr. Nelson's presentations were just 2 among many available.

  Peg makes friends with a very warm reindeer when we visit the Sami encampment on the edge of campus.

A view of a very busy cafeteria. A tribute to efficiency, but more importantly a great place to meet and visit with folks from all over. Dining at the table with Dr. Nelson and his wife Lila was a very special treat.

One of the high points of the Bygdelag was the evening Festival Parade of Lag Banners. After the formal entries and presentations, the audience is invited up for a closer look and to take pictures.

Here is the new Rogalandslag banner with the Rogalandslag President, Howard Amundson, on the right; his wife Marlene, Lag Secretary/Treasurer, is to the left of the banner.

  More banners with member presenters dressed in their striking bunads. Here the Vosselag banner is most prominent. To the left is Nordfjord Laget banner (man with green vest in front).

  ... and a few more banners. From left: Sunnhordland, ? (green), Nordhordland, ? (red).

 .. and a couple more. The red Valdres banner is most prominent with lag members in front. To the left is the Telelag banner. Valdres Samband is the oldest of the bygdelags, being formed in 1899. This is why 1999 was chosen for this centennial celebration.

After the evening program, the on-campus Marty's Cyber Cafe is the gathering place of diehard folk dancers. Included here are many of the Norwegian Folk Dance group from Drammen, Norway, who performed formally earlier in the day.

The dancers at Marty's continue, oblivious to the heat, humidity and sweat. Here in the foreground, two dancers from California dance with two from Norway. Outside an Iowa thunder storm starts to rumble.

Keith stands in front of the main Vesterheim Museum building in downtown Decorah. Here we were very impressed with their extensive collection and friendly and helpful staff ... And we proudly became members.

Inside the Museum we find the model of the Sloop Restoration that brought Keith's ancestors to America in 1825. Photo courtesy of Darrell Henning, Chief Curator. (A photo of this model sloop appears at the front of J. Hart Rosdail's Slooper book.)

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