The part of winter worth waiting for started Saturday, Feb. 1 — just in time for Vinterfest, Scandia’s annual celebration of ice and snow. “Vinter” is Swedish for “winter,” and the city’s Swedish heritage was evident throughout the day.
The Pleasant Valley Cloggers from nearby Lindström (“America’s Little Sweden” and home of Karl Oskar Days) performed in the Community Center.
The ski/snowshoe trail started at Gammelgården (Swedish for “old small farm”), the museum that preserves Swedish immigrant history. It proceeded past the Elim cemetery, full of Scandinavian names, and passed through the park called Lilleskogen (Swedish for “little forest”).
At the Designs of Sweden store on Olinda Trail, owner Martin Hallkvist handed out cookies.
The festival was organized by members of the city’s Park and Recreation Committee, with Scandia/Marine Lions, Gammelgarden volunteers and city staff on hand to help out.
This year the Scanley Cup hockey tournament, sponsored by the Roberts Family Funeral Home of Forest Lake, took place on the hockey rink, and the figure skating rink was expanded to accommodate pleasure skaters. The tournament raised $1,000 for Scandia’s Leonard Wojtowicz Skating Park.
Polar explorer Ann Bancroft showed her tent, sled and a snow shelter at VinterSurvival Camp.
And the QuizPromenade, a traditional Swedish trivia game, tested visitors’ knowledge of winter weather, fish species and butterfly migration, among other things.