117th Deuce of August Celebration in Mountain

Icelandic Communities Association (ICA) of Northeast North Dakota invites everyone to attend the 117th Annual August the Deuce in Mountain over the weekend of July 29 – 31.

Deuce of August

Posted on 7/23/16

By Melissa Anderson

“Although many people believe that we are celebrating Iceland’s Independence Day, we are celebrating “The Day of the Icelanders” as Iceland’s Independence Day is June 17,” Jolene Halldorson, President of the Icelandic Communities Association explained.

Jón Sigurðsson, born on June 17, was the leader for Iceland´s independence from Denmark. He worked to free Iceland from under Denmark´s rule, and, as a result, Iceland chose his birthday to honor his efforts towards independence.

The Day of the Icelanders celebrates a new constitution brought to Iceland by King Christian the IX of Denmark. In 1874, King Christian IX planned to visit Iceland for the 1000th Anniversary of the settlement and bring with him a new constitution for Iceland. All clergy in Iceland were asked to hold services on August 2 in every church in the country. The leaders were advised to accept this new constitution because it was a step in the right direction, and, to this day, the New Constitution is delivered.

“Also on August 2, 1874, there were Icelandic immigrants in Milwaukee, Wisc., and they held a celebration for this event,” Halldorson added.

The first celebration of the “Day of the Icelanders” began in Winnipeg in 1890 and in Pembina County starting in 1899.

“We continue this celebration each year in Mountain,” Halldorson said.

The Deuce of August is the largest Icelandic event in the United States and is verified by the North Dakota Tourism Department as being the oldest ethnic festival in the state of North Dakota. The Deuce of August is an annual event hosted by the Icelandic Communities Association (ICA).

The seven Icelandic settlement communities that make up the ICA are Gardar, Mountain, Hallson, Vidalin, Fjalla, Thingvalla and Svold. The people from these communities and many other supporters from all over the United States are instrumental in the success of the celebration and ICA activities.

“The goal of the ICA is to celebrate our Icelandic heritage and culture with the main focus being to promote and organize the annual ‘Deuce of August’ Celebration,” Halldorson stated.

The three-day event draws nearly a thousand visitors from all over the U.S., Canada, and Iceland.

“The weekend begins on Thursday with our unique and popular Genealogy Center staffed by Icelandic Roots Genealogists,” Halldorson said.

The Genealogy Center will be open Thursday – Saturday. Friday, July 29 has the evening events starting with the American Legion fish fry at 5 p.m. followed by a street dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“This year the band on Friday night is Tripwire,” Halldorson shared.

Saturday morning begins with a big parade at 10:30 a.m. The Grand Marshall for the parade is Duane and Jeanne Halldorson, and the Honorary Grand Marshall is Joe W. and Christine Hall.

After the parade, there are many activities to be enjoyed by all ages throughout the day. The traditional Vikur Salad Luncheon in the basement of Vikur Church is at 11:00 a.m.

Other activities will include the Genealogy Center, a Car Show and Shine, and a sanctioned Kids Pedal Tractor Pull. There will also be souvenir sales and Icelandic goodies from the Akra Snack Shack.

“This year we are so fortunate to be honored by the attendance of Mr. Illugi Gunnarsson, Minister of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland,” Halldorson stated.

Minister Gunnarsson will be the keynote speaker at the traditional Heritage Program at 2 p.m. in the Community Center. Entertainment at the Heritage Program will also include a choir from Iceland.

At 6 p.m., there is the traditional Icelandic Communities International Fellowship Dinner in the Mountain Community Center. The traditional Old Time Dance will be at the American Legion Hall from 5-9 p.m., and there will be a big street dance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with music by “Jacked Up”. Fireworks are generally lit off at 10:30 p.m.

“As you can see, the event is quite full on Saturday, but it doesn’t end there,” Halldorson said, “Come back to Mountain on Sunday for the ND State Tractor and Pickup Pulling Contest at 1 p.m.”

For more information, visit the website at and like us on Facebook.

“The Deuce of August depends on the support of volunteers to keep this a fun, entertaining, successful, and safe event each year,”Halldorson said.

If you are interested in volunteering, send an email to Jolene Halldorson at