The earliest documented summer gathering of Scandinavian immigrants in Astoria took place in 1938. Other historical sources refer to Scandinavian gatherings centered around folk dance in the 50’s and 60’s. The first documented source that refers to the summer festivities as the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is from 1968.
The 2018 Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival will be the 51st festival of this continuous celebration of the summer solstice and all things Scandinavian on Oregon’s North Coast. The Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is currently a three-day festival held the third weekend in June at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds east of Astoria. The festival opens Friday afternoon with vendors, food and live entertainment. Friday’s major evening events include Queen's Coronation, a Bonfire with Hex burning, and a public dance. On Saturday there is a Midnight Sun Breakfast followed by a Troll Run/Walk through the country side. There are continuous opportunities all day long for attendees to visit vendors, buy authentic Scandinavian food specialties from the lodges, and dance and listen to live entertainment from Scandinavia and the Pacific Northwest. Other major events on Saturday include a costumed walking parade through the fairgrounds, flag raising, raising and dancing around the Midsummer Pole, and community theater in the Beer Garden. There is a Viking Encampment open to the public with almost hourly demonstrations. All ages are invited to participate in a Kubb (Scandinavian lawn game) tournament and there are children’s games and puppet shows in the Barnefest Area. Saturday evening concludes with another public dance. Sunday’s activities include a Pannukakku (Finnish pancake) Breakfast, a non-denominational church service, more shopping, food and live entertainment and a narrated parade of Scandinavian folk dress. The event concludes in the late afternoon with the raffle drawing and closing ceremonies with flags.
All Scandinavian Midsummer Festival events are open to the public. Admission is family friendly and multi-generational families attend with youngsters being particularly keen to return for the fun, food and family time, and seniors being glad to share their family traditions and history with the upcoming generations. Survey results show that about half of attendees are returnees and the other half are newcomers eager to learn about a new culture.
3-day Button - Adult $8
3-day Button - Children (6-12 yrs.) $3
(5 and under free)
Clatsop County Fairgrounds
92937 Walluski Loop
Astoria, OR 97103
Click for directions
Clatsop County Fairgrounds
$2 per day or
$5 weekend pass
No Pets Allowed
Only verifiable registered service animals will be permitted
The Santa Lucia Festival, sponsored by the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Association, is family fun at a great price. It’s held every November at 7 P.M. on Friday immediately following Thanksgiving. The Santa Lucia Ceremony takes place at the Astoria High School Auditorium and the dancing and refreshments are in the Commons.
In Scandinavia “Santa Lucia” is celebrated in December, but in Astoria, this winter festival of lights is celebrated the day after Thanksgiving to tie in with the opening of the Christmas season. In Sweden the preferred spelling is “Sankta Lucia” for the title of the young woman chosen to lead the procession of attendants in white robes and young men called “Star Boys”. The runner-up for the Miss Scandinavia contest from the previous June is the Lucia Bride and wears a crown of candles on her head. Other members of the court are the Lucia attendants. The new Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Court for the upcoming year is introduced and afterwards there are refreshments and public dancing.
You do not have to be Scandinavian to participate and enjoy this fun evening. Everyone is invited to leave the Thanksgiving left-overs and shopping and come listen to music, sing some Christmas Carols, mingle with friends and dance.
Admission is $1 or $5 per family with all admission funds going to the Scandinavian Festival Scholarship Fund administered by the Astoria High School Scholarships, Inc.