Midsommar Fest to feature blasts from the past

NEW SWEDEN, Maine — Like the perennial lupine, New Sweden Midsommar Festival will return this week, Friday, June 21, through Sunday, June 23.

Special features will include an immigrant trunk exhibition, quilt show as well as special music.

By popular demand, Aliza Thibodeau, once a New Sweden Little Folk Dancer, will return from Montreal, and perform with her husband, Kit Soden.

“This twosome known as October Gold wowed the crowds last year,” said festival co-chairperson, Brenda Nasberg Jepson, “and we were thrilled when they agreed to come back. They sing Swedish favorites as well as classic, romantic love songs.”

In another special exhibit, Nason Donahue of New Sweden will demonstrate the use of vintage sewing machines — a passion that has led to a unique donation.

For the past few Midsommars, Donahue has made blue and yellow quilt squares during the festival and finally had enough to stitch together a beautiful quilt top. Judy Babbidge of Limestone arranged for an Amish woman, Mary Miller of Easton, to hand quilt the piece to complete it.

This special Midsommar Heritage Quilt has been donated to the New Sweden Historical Society amd will be on display during the festival at a quilt show in the Covenant Church on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Raffle tickets for the quilt will be available during the festival.

Also on display will be old immigrant trunks and their histories at an exhibition in the Covenant Church Fogelin Hall.

“Immigrant trunks are so emblematic of the unique history of our Swedish community that we thought it would be a great way to interest folks in our heritage,” said Jepson.

“We are still looking for a few more to display, and folks are welcome to contact us about bringing them in,” she added. Those interested may contact her by email at

One special trunk on loan from the Stockholm Museum is the trunk brought to America by Reverend Olaf Fogelin, whose name adorns the Fogelin Hall.

The Ostlund House, closed for repairs for the last few years, will be open again for tours. It is the only two-story Swedish, hand-hewn log house in Maine.

Other traditional activities planned– from a dinner dance at Stockholm Legion Hall, where diners enjoy eating Swedish meatballs while listening to the local Swedish Meatball Band, to children dancing around the Midsommar Pole.

For more information about this three-day event, see the New Sweden Historical Society Facebook page, where all events are listed.

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