On the Fox logo

Dining, Shopping  & Exploring the Fox River Valley

, , ,

Celebrate Midsommar Festival in Geneva, IL

people in Swedish costumes
Swedish Dance at the Midsommar Festival - Geneva, IL - Photo submitted by Dianna Griffin

The oldest ethnic festival in Illinois, and believed to be the second oldest in the USA, the Annual Swedish Midsommar Festival is steeped in Scandinavian traditions, with activities that will please everyone.

(This page may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure about affiliate links.)

Crossing the Atlantic in the Viking Ship Raven

girls and pony
Icelandic horse with young girls – Photo submitted by Dianna Griffin

Learn about sailing across the Atlantic in the Viking ship Raven and enjoy the fun in the largest Maypole dance in the Midwest, led by Linda and Paul Muir. See how Vikings lived at the Viking encampment. A non-denominational worship service at 10 AM, featuring the Swedesong Girls Ensemble with Marguerite Karl, kicks off the festival.

Performances by Swedish musical groups such as the Nordic Dancers of Chicago, the Swedish American Children’s Choir, Chicago Spelsmanslag, the Viking Voices of Chicago, Ernie Sandquist, The Kaars, and the Pearson Family will please visitors.

Traditional Swedish Dishes to Feast On

Feast on a traditional Swedish pancake or fried herring breakfast. Swedish meatball dinners, sloppy Joes, hamburgers, and hot dogs are also available. Dont miss the Swedish coffee bread, the mazariner (almond) tarts, and other delicacies at the Kaffe Stuga (coffee house).

Opportunities to explore Scandinavian culture are plentiful at the festival. The Swedish Cottage Walk begins at 11 AM and continues throughout the day. It includes information about the history of the 60-acre park. You can try speaking Swedish with a mini-Swedish lesson taught by Inez Tornblom.

maypole dance
Maypole tradition – Photo submitted by Dianna Griffin

Good Templar Park

baby with swedish clothing
Everyone gets into the festivities! Photo submitted by Dianna Griffin

Viking Ship presentations will give you insight into the replica of the original Gokstad ship that was built around the year 850 A.D. The replica, called The Raven, sailed across the Atlantic and through the Great Lakes to become one of the most popular attractions at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

Good Templar Park is a beautiful nature preserve. The colorful cottages that dot the landscape feature handmade furniture, cross stitch samplers, tomte (gnomes), flowing lace curtains, and fireplace mantles with wooden shoes. Admission is $7 for adults; children under 12 are free, as well as anyone in traditional Scandinavian costume. Parking is free.

Article and photos submitted by Dianna Griffin

For more information:
Call or text: 630-232-4208
Website: goodtemplarpark.org/swedish-day

Additional Resources, Links & Products

Share This Article

Related Articles

Search On the Fox
Just Added

Frank Lloyd Wright in Illinois

Your Hosts
Yvonne & Richard

The OTF Design Team

local experts, foodies, travel writers, photographers, web designers

Between the two of us, we’ve spent almost 100 years living in the Tri-Cities! On the Fox is our combined effort to share with you everything that the Fox River Valley has to offer. We hope you enjoy the area… and the site; and that you come back often to see what’s new!

Yvonne & Richard