A sense of culture: Northern Plains Ethnic Festival set SaturdayThe Kevin and Susan Moberg family will immerse itself in the diverse cultures of Dickinson — sampling Ukrainian cheese buttons, listening to Czech music and helping out at the Scandinavian booth during the Northern Plains Ethnic Festival on Saturday.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
The Kevin and Susan Moberg family will immerse itself in the diverse cultures of Dickinson — sampling Ukrainian cheese buttons, listening to Czech music and helping out at the Scandinavian booth during the Northern Plains Ethnic Festival on Saturday.
As members of the Sons of Norway Lodge, this will be their fourth year of carrying flags of the Scandinavian countries during the opening ceremonies.
“My husband’s background is Norwegian and I’m Swedish, so we’ve enjoyed being able to connect our girls with their heritage,” Susan Moberg said.
The festival, which was founded in the 1980s, begins with opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. at the Ridgeway Lutheran Church in Pioneer Outpost Park.
It’s followed by entertainment and serving of the ethnic foods by the Czechs, Germans from Russia, Scandinavians, Sons of Norway and Ukrainians.
The festival concludes with an ethnic brunch from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Elks Lodge, 501 Elks Drive.
The Moberg family will bake Norwegian goodies for their booth’s bake sale and sample the other foods, Susan Moberg said.
“It’s to give them a sense of culture,” she said. “It’s also fun because it’s something unique to our local community. We connect to other people and feel heritage is important.”
Susan is a librarian at Dickinson High School, while Kevin is an education professor at Dickinson State University. Growing up in the area, Susan said it’s typical in North Dakota to meet somebody and immediately look for connections.
“Fairly often, we do find some connection,” she said.
The Sons of Norway will serve krumkaka, a pastry, while the Mobergs are bringing kokosmaroner, a Norwegian macaroon cookie.
Their daughters, Abigail, Hilary and Suzanna have helped at the booth in previous festivals. This year, they also will help with the animal balloon sculpture and fun tattoo booth.
The festival is a yearly highlight for the Mobergs, but it’s one of the cultural events the family enjoys.
“My husband researches Scandinavian recipes on Saturdays and he and the girls cook us a Scandinavian meal — it’s a nice time to be a family and it’s kind of fun,” she said.
The meal is important to Kevin Moberg because his mother died in 2001 before she taught him how to make traditional foods.
“It was important that it didn’t happen to my kids,” he said. “We experiment each Saturday. A different daughter rotates to become my helper. We pick out recipes at Scandinavian sites.”
While not all the recipes are keepers, he said they’ve eaten many delicious Scandinavian foods.
The Moberg’s also participate in a summer Scandinavian cultural camp, in June at Bottineau. They prepare Norwegian foods, learn the language, sing songs and dance. They practice the art of hardanger embroidery and wood carving.
Lynette Jacobs, president of the Sons of Norway Lodge and vice president of the Northern Plains Ethnic Festival, also appreciates her heritage.
“We keep it going because we want to pass our heritage on and hopefully get younger people to pick it up,” Jacobs said. “There’s a lot of young people who have no idea of their nationality.”
In last year’s festival, she spoke with visitors working in the Oil Patch.
“It isn’t our local people any more, which is great,” she said.
Dorothy Schmidt will help the Scandinavian group serve lefse, Old World breads and other pastries at the stabbur building.
A longtime festival member, she said, “I think people want to keep their heritage going — it’s nice to have a gathering that everybody enjoys.”
People look forward to the food because most don’t make the ethnic favorites anymore, she said.
The Czechs are making kolaches, a pastry-filled bun; rohliky, a dinner roll and knudlova polivka — chicken noodle soup.
The Ukrainians will serve cheese buttons, which they manufactured at the Ukrainian Cultural Institute.
The Germans from Russia serve bratwurst (sausage on a sick) and smutskuechle (fry bread).
Norm Dukart, Germans from Russia president and Northern Plains secretary, traces his heritage back to Landau in southern Russia.
With oppression from the government, the Dukart family immigrated to America.
“My first language was German, and we still enjoy the different foods they made in Russia,” Dukart said.
The Germans from Russia menu of farmer hats and sausage is a traditional meal in any German family.
“The farmer hats are simply bread dough stretched and deep-fried,” he said.
“The ethnic festival is to keep alive the knowledge of the different ethnic groups — I’d love to have other ethnic communities join us,” he said.