Following up on a tip given by a congenial server at the Stockholm Bakery & Café we returned to Kingsburg this May for the annual Swedish festival; a commemoration of all that is Swedish in California. The quiet town we had driven into nearly one year ago was transformed into a hive of activity: A local news crew was busy setting up for a broadcast, Tents were being erected for a street fair and Women in colorfully decorated costumes were weaving in and out of the crowd. This two day festival held every year on the third weekend of May is the result of voluntary effort by the residents of Kingsburg both of Swedish descent and other, for locals and visitors who are welcomed with warmth, grace and joy.
The festival kick starts with a traditional Smorgasbord dinner at Coffee Pot Park. In the shadow of the Coffee Pot water tower, tables are set and adorned in blue and yellow with traditional Scandinavian center pieces. The traditional Smorgasbord dinner is served on the Fire department premises, which is also the beneficiary of the evening’s proceeds. An array of Swedish delicacies from pickled herring to traditional sausage and Swedish meat balls make up the dinner treat. A local twist to a traditional dish is seen for example in the boiled potatoes which are flavored with a hint of garlic.
Belying Kingsburg’s roughish past the hosts serve dinner with warm smiles and cheerful banter as guests line up at the Smorgasbord.
As you sit down to enjoy the many delicacies on your plate, beautifully orchestrated entertainment of the evening begins. Attired in traditional costumes dating back generations, families of Swedish descent present informational snippets, folk dances and music.
The highlight of the evening is the crowning of the Swedish Festival Queen. This year a third generation Swedish descendent Miss Carry Larson was crowned Queen of the Kingsburg Swedish Festival. As part of her duties the Festival Queen will serve as the representative of the Swedish Village of Kingsburg and at various functions and events during her year of reign.
As the evening progresses and the shadows lengthen at Coffee Pot Park, the dancing and merriment continue........