Gammelgarden’s Spelmanstamma draws crowd on pleasant day

Visitors to the Gammelgården Museum in Scandia enjoyed traditional Swedish tunes played outdoors by musicians from Spelmans Lag and the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag.

On a beautiful late summer day, visitors came to Scandia to enjoy Swedish tunes played outdoors at the Gammelgarden Museum’s Spelmanstamma on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Tour guides led visitors through the museum buildings, including the 1856 Gammelkyrkan, the oldest Lutheran church building in Minnesota, and the 1868 Prast Hus, the oldest existing parsonage in the state.

Boxes made by chip carving, birds made by fan carving, and carved, painted wood figures were among the crafts for sale.

The Immigrant Hus, Ladugard (barn), Stuga (cottage), and the modern Valkommen Hus (visitor center) were also open.

Children’s games were offered near the Barton Johnson Park playground, with Swedish meatballs and home-made root beer for sale at the gazebo.

At 2:00 the procession of musicians, in colorful traditional Swedish dress, marched down the hill from Elim Swedish Lutheran Church to the museum grounds.

The fiddle and nyckelharpa players, led by Scandia native Paul Dahlin of Minneapolis, then performed a concert on the lawn.

Musicians from the American Swedish Institute Spelmans Lag, joined by the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag, played traditional Swedish tunes. The nyckelharpa (key fiddle) is a traditional Swedish instrument that has been played for more than 600 years. It sounds like a violin but with more resonance.  During supper the musicians performed again.

One person from Sweden heard about the Gammelgarden event while visiting the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis and made the trip to Scandia.

One musician said being in Scandia was like being in Sweden. “Some of our members went to Sweden this year,” the bass player from Spelmans Lag said, “and for those of us who didn’t–here we are.”

Stars, eventually

In the evening, stargazing fans gathered for a presentation by WCCO Meterologist Mike Lynch.  Unfortunately, clouds had been gathering.  At 8:30, when the show began, lightning forced the group inside.

“What makes a star shine?  The one-word answer is gravity,” Lynch said. The huge size of a star means it has immense gravity.

In the sun, the internal pressure on the hydrogen gas is so intense, at about 500 billion pounds per square inch, that the temperature rises to 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.  The ultra-high temperature causes the closely packed hydrogen atoms to move very fast, so that they bash into each other with enough force to fuse together to form helium atoms.

And in each tiny collision, a tiny amount of the hydrogen is converted into energy.  We see the light and feel the radiation, Lynch said, because of a process caused by gravity.

Why is the planet Jupiter not a star, given its size?  Jupiter does not have sufficient gravitational compression, Lynch explained.

While he covered the speed of light and how long it takes light to reach us, rain could be heard falling outside.

But for those who stayed long enough, there was a reward.  The rain stopped, and clouds cleared from the northwestern sky, letting the stargazers “follow the arc to Arcturus” as the Big Dipper became visible.