2024 Grand Marshal!

2024 Grand Marshal Coreen Bergholm has attended 55 of 57 Midsummer Festivals and been an entertainer since 1978.

Bergholm immigrated from North Dakota to Astoria in 1965 and attended her first Midsummer Festival in 1968 when her daughter was part of the original children’s Nordic dance group lead by Carol Obie. Both daughter Lynnette and son Ronnie danced with the dance group until they were out of high school. In 1978 festival organizer Maureen Sundstrom formed a dance band called the Local Yokels to entertain at the Midsummer Festival and Coreen was part of it. There were five accordions, but Coreen played piano. The band was asked to play for other occasions and Coreen soon realized that an accordion was more portable than a piano, as keyboards were not prevalent then. Bergholm taught herself how to play accordion in the kitchen, ignoring her two kids with their fingers in their ears. Bergholm’s mentors have always been local immigrant accordionists Sven Sundstrom and Jorgen Madsen who taught her the tunes and rhythms so important for Scandinavian music. Coreen eventually became a “snow bird” and formed her own accordion band for the Sons of Norway Lodge in Yuma, Arizona. The lodge puts on a Scandifest every winter and the Yuma Accordion Band does the majority of the music. The band is still in existence after twenty-one years.

Bergholm’s favorite festival memory is from forty years ago in 1984. Bergholm served as Senior Court Chaperone and Publicity Chair for the festival as well as performing with the Local Yokels. Myron Floren from the Lawrence Welk Band was the featured entertainer and Coreen was asked to polka on stage with Lawrence Welk dancer Bobby Burgess. She says, “It was a busy but memorable festival, like they all are.”

Congratulations, Coreen! Don’t miss Coreen’s accordion playing all three days of the 2024 Midsummer Festival! June 21-23, 2024, at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds.