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“Deuce of August” or “2nd of August” Icelandic Celebration

Updated: May 27, 2020

Northeast North Dakota is the home of a large Icelandic settlement, many historic sites, and an annual Icelandic Celebration.

Séra Páll Þorláksson (Rev. Pall Thorlaksson) is known as the ”Father of the Icelandic Dakota Settlement.” He and a group of others set out to explore northeast Dakota in 1878. A few took homesteads right away. Séra Páll was the first to homestead in ”Vik”, which is now called Mountain. Sadly, the good pastor and leader died 12 Mar 1882 and is buried in the old cemetery beside the church.

This church is called Vikur and it is the oldest Icelandic Church in all of North America. The church and the cemetery are located on Main Street — very few cemeteries are located on a Main Street.

Our annual Icelandic Heritage Celebration was for many years called the “2nd of August” but most people alive today call it the “Deuce of August.” Some people get into heated discussions about the proper name for this celebration and I understand both sides of this issue. I am not entering into any arguments about it.

North Dakota State Tractor Pull Photo by Michael Readel

This year, we celebrate the 113th Icelandic Heritage Celebration on August 2, 3, 4, and 5. Deuce of August Schedule 2012.

There are activities for everyone in the family and lots of food. My husband says the highlight is the Akra Snack Shack. The Abrahamson family has Icelandic treats that he just loves.

The Vikur women put on a wonderful Salad Luncheon. There are street dances, fireworks, and kids games plus much more.

Most of the weekend activities take place in Mountain including the very popular, high-octane, North Dakota State Pickup and Tractor Pull and a Kids Pedal Tractor Pull, too. This weekend celebration is the oldest ethnic festival in North Dakota and the largest Icelandic event in the United States.

We offer free genealogy services with connections made each year by the unique and popular “Cousins Across the Ocean” project.

2010 Cousins Across the Ocean

This year, we have author Audrhea Lande coming to give a book presentation and sign the book, “With Love to You All, Bogga. S”. Brad Hirst is giving a presentation about the Icelandic Camp and he can teach us some great Icelandic words and sayings. Karen Busch will come and give her presentation, “My Adventures and Misadventures in Iceland.” There is so much to enjoy!

Iceland Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

Come to North Dakota and have some fun, visit with friends, see the sights, and help celebrate our Icelandic heritage!

Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

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