As soon as you opened the door, you knew you were at the right place.
Posted on 2/27/16
Submitted by Jolene Halldorson
You were at the first ICA sponsored Þorrablót, in Mountain. The aroma ofhákarl (fermented shark), harðfiskur, and sour rams testicles wafted through the room as 205 people celebrated. This was a Midwinter Viking Feast to celebrate our Icelandic heritage and pay homage to our ancestors. The foods were served just as our ancestors would have prepared them – smoked, salted, pickled, wheyed, or dried.
The evening started out with a social hour. All who attended were able to sample the many Icelandic foods such as harðfiskur, hákarl, brennevin, herring and the sour rams testicles. Other foods available for those not so daring were smoked salmon, melassi brauð. During the social hour everyone mingled and greeted each other, seeing people they hadn’t seen in years. Susan Sigurdson Powers entertained as she walked throughout the room playing Icelandic songs on her accordion. Merlyn Dalstad from Svold, along with his great-nephew Steve Crowston entertained the crowd with a few songs on their guitars.
Young and old were having a great time, daring each other to eat the foods of our Viking ancestors. Everyone who tried the hákarl was given a badge of honor. They wore it proudly throughout the evening, celebrating being a Viking.
The committee co-chairs, Jolene Halldorson and Kathie Johnson, welcomed the crowd. It was fun to see how many non-Icelanders were in the room to share this event with the Icelanders. The committee, along with special guest Hjalmar Hannesson, Consul General of Iceland to Canada, led the toast to our ancestors that bravely left their homeland in search of a better life, Skal!
The crowd continued to feast. They enjoyed the buffet of cod, chicken, pickled red cabbage, and potato with rutabaga. The hangikjöt and rulluypylsa sandwiches were placed at the end of the buffet. These delicious Icelandic meats were made by John E. Johnson. Kathie Johnson baked all the bread that the meat was served on. To help wash down all this great food, everyone was given a bottle of Icelandic water.
Money raised at the Thorrablot is used to support a snorri scholarship program which helps fund youth who want to travel to Iceland to discover their roots and an Icelandic Heritage Sites grant program for the Icealndic communites of Akra, Fjalla, Gardar, Hallson, Mountain, Svold and Vidalin. These communites were settled by early Icelandic immigrants. Our ancestors built churches, meeting halls, cemeteries, schools and other buildings during these pioneer times. Many of the buildings and sites are still in existence, and many are still used today but require constant upkeep and sometimes expensive repairs. These buildings are an important part of our Icelandic culture as they have a story to tell. We need to keep them to teach the next generation the importance of their Icelandic heritage! This year we were pleased to offer two $500 grants. The recipients were the Svold Community Hall Association for shingling the hall and the Fjalla Cemetary Association for the Fjalla Icelandic Church north of Milton to help repair siding damages from a hail and wind storm.
The ICA also does another little event in the summer of every year, that you may have heard about it – August the Deuce. The ICA sponsors this along with the City of Mountain. With funds raised during August the Deuce and the ND State Tractor Pull, the ICA donated $5,000 to the community of Mountain, for the Mountain Community Center Campaign Fund. It will be used to pay down the debt of the community center in Mountain where we get to host all these great Icelandic events!
The evening continued on with a poem reading by Kathy Thorlakson and a trumpet solo by Einar Einarson accompanied by Kathie Johnson. During this time a tray of Icelandic delicacies was delivered to each table that consisted of Ponnukukor filled with homemade rhubard jam and whipped cream, Vinarterta and Kleinur. After dessert, a live auction led by auctioneer and fellow Icelander, Dennis Biliske,got the excitement flowing through the room, once again. The donated items, such as a handmade Icelandic wool blanket from Iceland, a Swarovski diamond necklace that displayed the Icealndic flag, a pönnukökur pan from Iceland, Bjornson Wine, and Matthiason Wine, 10 hangikjöt and 10 rulluypylsa, made by John E. Johnson, were among the most sought after items. There were also many silent auction items that were bid on throughout the evening.
The evening ended with the drawing of the raffle winners. Grand Prize – $500 gift certificate to Icelandair was won by Patty Hensel of Park River, second place – $200 was won by Jerry Yeado and third prize – $100 was won by Phyllis Majeras.
The evening was a great success! Thank you to everyone who donated items for the live and silent auction and to all the bidders at the auction. Thanks to Dennis Biliske for donating his time as auctioneer. Special thanks to our “volunteer” table clearers. We saw many people jump in and help throughout the evening, thank you!
To learn more about the ICA and the Icelandic Heritage Sites Grant contact Jolene Halldorson at firstname.lastname@example.org.