JUNCTION CITY, Ore. — Junction City begins celebrating its European roots Thursday with the 52nd Annual Scandinavian Festival. Crews worked all day Wednesday to transform the city’s downtown into a 19th-century village.
When the I-5 corridor opened up, business drained out of the town. The change in the atmosphere inspired a local doctor to find a way to bring the life back. Building on the Danish heritage and resources of some of the city’s residents, The Scandinavian Festival was born. Now more than 50 years later, the tradition continues to bring folks together.
“It was started as a way to bring back some civic pride. The downtown was drying up, the town in general was just falling down with the lack of traffic. This was a way to pump people up and get people back through Junction City,” said volunteer Jeff Peterson.
According to coordinators, the festival isn’t all fun and games. They said it’s also an educational experience. There were will be several handicraft and language demonstrations throughout the festival.
Each day of the event will be dedicated to a specific Scandinavian culture. Things begin with the Danish followed by the Finnish, Norwegian and then the Swedish will wrap things up on Sunday. Organizers said you don’t have to be of Scandinavian descent to participate. Everyone is welcomed to come out and experience what Northern Europe has to offer.