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Sherri Richards, Published February 21 2010

Crowd enjoys food, music at Nordic Gala

Lisa Campbell, part of the Red River Danes organization, usually works at the Nordic Gala, a February fundraiser for the annual Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival. But Saturday, she was able just to attend.

“It’s kind of nice to visit with people and trying some of the foods I don’t normally try,” she said.

Foods like pönnukökur – dessert crepes with strawberries and whipped cream – as well as mashed rutabagas, cucumber salad and halibut soup.

“Mmmmm,” Ann Overby said as she tasted the halibut soup. “It’s kind of sweet.”

The food is certainly a highlight of the gala, attended by about 200 people. So is the entertainment, including music by a girls choir and opera singer Mark McLeod.

But the seventh annual event is first and foremost a fundraiser for the annual three-day Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival.

This year, it will be June 25-27 and will feature the FM Icelandic Klub.

Lori Paakh, executive director of the Nordic Culture Clubs, said this year’s festival will include a 5k and 10k run/walk, and a community-wide children’s choir.

She was hoping Saturday’s event, which included live and silent auctions, would raise between $5,000 and $10,000.

She also hopes the gala raises awareness that the six nationality-based groups that make up the Nordic Culture Clubs are more than just the one summer event.

“I’d encourage people to become part of the clubs,” she said. “These are salt-of-the-earth people.”

Overby, bookkeeper for the Nordic Culture Clubs, agreed, pointing out how friendly and, at $25 per plate, affordable, Saturday’s event was.

“It’s not a hoity-toity gala,” she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556