Sons, Elks team up for Syttende Mai celebration

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
The Sons of Norway Heim Lodge officers are Leo Sayler, Kitty Overbo, Kathy Gewont, Diane Rice and Irv Thompson.

The Sons of Norway Heim Lodge celebrates Syttende Mai - the National Day of Norway - with a very special event partnering with the Devils Lake Elks Club.

Although Syttende Mai actually means “May 17,” the date celebrated as Norwegian Constitution Day sometimes also called Norwegian Independence Day, the celebration here in Devils Lake for 2016 will take place on Saturday, May 14 in the Devils Lake Elks Club on Highway 2 west.

A lefse-making demonstration is planned starting at 3:30 p.m. and if you are one of the lucky ones who arrive that early, you might get to taste/sample it hot off the griddle!  

Starting at 5:30 p.m. there will be a meal serving potato klüb and ham. There is a fee charged for the meal. There will be music, Norwegian desserts, a silent auction, a Bunad fashion show and a brief slide show on the various regions of Norway.

This is a fundraiser for the Devils Lake Elks Club. They receive the proceeds from the meal, according to the new Exaulted Ruler of the Devils Lake Elks, Kelly Swenseth.

She says if you want to learn how to make klüb, they are starting at approximately 10 a.m. in the High Plains Equipment kitchen, on Highway 2 east.

It is also a fundraiser for the Heim Lodge. They receive the proceeds from the silent auction and sale of Norwegian treats.

Families are welcome, bring the children, as the event will be held in the large meeting space of the newly renovated, former Nite Owl Lounge, which is separate from the bar.

About the Sons of Norway

The purposes and goals of the founders were to protect members of Sons of Norway and their families from the financial hardships experienced during times of sickness or death in the family. Over time, the mission of Sons of Norway has expanded to include the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture in our society. They have grown since their humble beginning and are now the largest Norwegian organization outside Norway.

Heim Lodge                                                                                                                      The name of the Sons of Norway group in Devils Lake is Heim Lodge.  According to Kathy Gewont, the club’s current president, there are between 30 and 40 members of  Heim Lodge. They meet once monthly, normally at the IOOF Lodge or occasionally St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

The Heim Lodge regularly spends a day at the Norsk Høsfest in Minot, provides a booth serving home-made Rommegrot during the two-day Stump Lake Steam Threshing Bee over Labor Day weekend, host the Sons of Norway Singers, celebrate Jul Fest, holds a Cultural Skills Day and each month has a special speaker or presenter that has some connection to Norway or Norwegian roots.

Gewont, herself, has been involved with the group for five or six years. She says it was Mary Ann Johnson who inspired her to check out the club. “She talked about it and encouraged me to attend, so I did and I have ever since,” Gewont says.

“I was hooked.”

Since becoming involved in Sons of Norway, Gewont has gotten more interested in learning about her Norwegian heritage. So far she’s learned about her great grandmother’s emigration from Norway to Canada and then to North Dakota where land to be homesteaded was abundant and free.

The family settled near Fortuna which is about as far west on Highway 5 you can go and still be in North Dakota.

President Gewont hopes everyone stops in Saturday for this very special joint event from the Sons of Norway and the Devils Lake Elks Club.

“Whether you are Norwegian or not, you are welcome!”