History of Decorah's Nordic Fest
In 1966, the Decorah Jaycees were approached by local resident Helga Lund Algyer with an article from the New York Times about a nonprofit, non-commercial Scandinavian celebration in Junction City, Oregon. Could Decorah do something like this? The organizers of the Junction City festival were helpful to the Decorah team.
Decorah Jaycees Jerry Aulwes, Mike Dahly, Harry Olson, Darrell Pierce and Gary Svenson enlisted the help of Vesterheim Director Marion Nelson and Phyllis Leseth to round out the founding team for Nordic Fest. This team set two goals for their Nordic Fest: celebrating all the wonderful community spirit of Decorah as well as Decorah's Scandinavian heritage. They made non-commercialism an important center of Nordic Fest. Decorah is forever indebted to their tireless efforts, dedication and foresight. The first Nordic Fest was held in July of 1967.
It is also important to remember that Nordic Fest is a nearly whole community effort each year. An all-volunteer board of directors do the main planning and organizing, which is made possible by year-round volunteer support. Nordic Fest is an unbelievable testament to the power of teamwork. The people of Decorah truly put their heart and soul into creating non-commercial Scandinavian family fun.