Editor’s Note: For a complete guide to all events at the Scandinavian Heritage Festival, see the festival magazine produced by the Sanpete Messenger and inserted in this week’s newspapers. Copies are also available at the Ephraim Co-op, city hall and businesses around the county.
EPHRAIM—The Scandinavian Heritage Festival, being held Friday and Saturday in Ephraim, will have many familiar events along with some captivating new twists. All told, it will be a bigger event than last year, says Michael Patton, Ephraim recreation director and director of the festival. Asked on Monday how things were look ing, Patton said, “Great, scary, awesome. A lot of moving pieces need to come together” by Friday.
He said the festival had signed up 120 booths compared to 75 last year. As of Monday, there were 42 entries in the parade, compared to 39 signups at the time of the parade last year.
Like last year, festival booths will be positioned along 100 North (College Avenue) between 100 and 200 East. The car show will be on 100 East between College Avenue and Center Street.
The main entertainment stage will be on the Snow College lawn between the Noyes and Humanities buildings. This year’s featured entertainer is British folk-rock singer Al Stewart, whose best known song is “Time Passages.” He will be on stage at 12:30 p.m.
The most novel new event is the wife-carrying contest on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Snow practice field west of the football stadium.
Wife-carrying is an off-beat sport in Scandinavia, comparable perhaps to the hot-dog eating contest at Coney Island in America. The world championships in wife-carrying are held every year in Sonkajärvi, Finland.
At the Scandinavian Festival, the competition is open to a male and female contestant, both at least 17 years old (they aren’t required to be married). The female must weigh at least 108 pounds. If she doesn’t, the male must wear a backpack filled with rocks to bring total weight carried up to 108 pounds. As of Monday, 25 couples had signed up.
The contestants race around a track getting over and through obstacles. A couple of the obstacles, which the Ephraim Fire Department uses for training, include a 4-foot wall with a window-like hole the couple must go through.
If a team can’t conquer an obstacle, they will have to complete some other time-consuming activity before continuing on the course. The team with the fastest time wins.
More than in the past, Pioneer Park, now called “Ephraim Heritage Museum and Cabins,” will be a center of activity.
All of the historic log structures in the park have been upgraded and are open for self-guided tours.
In the past, the Mormon Trail Pioneers, a group of volunteers who reenact pioneer life ways, camped out on the Snow College lawn. This year, their encampment will be at Pioneer Park.
The Crafter’s Village, where crafters demonstrate and sell their crafts, will move from the parking lot of the Ephraim Coop to the Snow College lawn this year.
Meanwhile, the Granary Arts Center on Main Street will sponsor guided walking tours in Ephraim, narrated using a cell-phone app called “Our Valley Speaks.” At various points on the tour, participants will be able to hear a local resident, often an old-timer, talking about past or present events connected with the location.
Historic bus tours will return after a two-year absence. There will be two tours on Saturday, each accommodating 30 participants. Tickets nearly always sell out, so get yours early. The tickets will be available at the information booth on College Avenue.
Numerous other events, including the Scandinavian Heritage conference, parade, Lion’s Club aebleskiver breakfast, quilt show, story telling, and contests ranging from Varpa (Scandinavian rock throwing) to cornhole will be pretty much the same as in prior years and in the same locations as in the past