Father/daughter named Grand Marshals for Astoria Scanfest
Kurt Hayrynen and his daughter Augusta Hayrynen have been chosen as Grand Marshals for the 2023 Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival. Festival president Carla Oja said, “The Midsummer Festival is built on volunteers. All volunteers are important to us, especially the extreme ones like Kurt and Augusta who you see working everywhere and who will do almost anything you ask.”
Kurt is a native Astorian who works for Recology. He usually takes the week before festival off from work and spends several weekends before that setting up the electrical side of things at the Fairgrounds with electrician Merv Helmersen. Kurt puts up flag poles, banners, and backdrops, and helps with transporting supplies, chairs, and tables. Augusta worked the whole week in advance of the 2022 festival, except for one day. She said, “I help with trash and wherever help is needed. Last year it was mostly bathrooms.” She also cleaned bleachers, decorated for the festival, and stayed for tear-down and clean-up after the festival closed.
Kurt Hayrynen has been involved with the Midsummer Festival since he was a kid. His paternal grandparents came from Finland and his mother is Norwegian and Italian. His parents danced with the Nordic Viking Scandia Dancers and that’s how the family got involved in helping at the Midsummer Festival. Augusta was Junior Miss Norway in 2019 and is currently a student at Astoria Middle School.
Besides working at the festival, Kurt and Augusta look forward to festival food, especially the meatballs. Kurt likes to see the regular festival volunteers and visitors and interact with them. He says, “During the regular year, we might not see everyone or have time to chat, but at the festival, we make a point of it, especially in the evenings when there’s time to relax.” Kurt enjoys working with Merv Helmersen and Loran Mathews because they appreciate the help. “Everyone like to be appreciated. Augusta and I will do whatever we can to help.”
Kurt hopes that the Midsummer Festival will keep going for years to come to showcase the cultural heritage of Astoria. Of all the venues where the festival has been held, he likes the fairgrounds best. “It’s chilly but it’s the nicest.”
Kurt and Augusta will officiate at two parades in June: the stationary parade to be held from 10-11 AM on Saturday, June 10, on the sidewalk in front of the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and at the optog (walking parade) at 11:30 AM on Saturday, June 17, at the Midsummer Festival to be held at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.