Updated: Jan 25, 2020
This past weekend was overflowing with parades, musicians, laughter, stories, good food, and so much more. Family and friends joined together at two different festivals to celebrate Icelandic culture and heritage in North America. I was able to attend both.
The 113th Deuce of August is held each year in Mountain, North Dakota, USA and the 123rd Íslendingadagurinn is held in Gimli, Manitoba, Canada. Both can claim to be the oldest Icelandic festivals in their countries and the Íslendingadagurinn can claim this title for all of North America.
I heard the comment many times this weekend, ”I wish that I could attend both events.” Well, it is possible but it is very exhausting. The main events are on Saturday in Mountain and they are on Monday in Gimli. It is just a three-hour drive between the two communities. Most of those that feel they cannot attend both events are working hard as volunteers and they are what make the events successful. If more people could lend a hand, it would make the load lighter for the great volunteers that do so much.
Every time that I make this drive, I think about our ancestors and the distances and hardships that they faced during their travels. The did not have cell phones, GPS, or high-powered vehicles but many made this same journey during the pioneer days. The only inconvenience that we have is stopping at the border but this is usually a painless few minute delay.
So next year, try to attend and volunteer at one if not both of these wonderful festivals. They are unique and interesting with so much to experience. You will go away with memories to last, new and old friends, and a deeper appreciation for your roots.