Local Norwegian-Americans celebrate annual Juletrefest holiday event
Cookies by local residents won top honors in a bake-off by Sons of Norway Polar Star Lodge 5-472 on Dec. 8.
The smakaker (cookie) contest was held at the lodge's annual Juletrefest, Norwegian Christmas celebration, at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery.
Yorkville resident Barbara Johnson took first place with her tranebaer lykksalighet smakaker, cranberry bliss bars. Her prize was "Scandikitchen Christmas," Bronte Aurell's book of Scandinavian recipes and traditions. Ken Johnson, Barbara's husband and lodge president, awarded his wife's prize.
Runner-up cookie baker was Kelly Welin of Wheaton. For her Norwegian spice cookies, Welin received a poinsettia plant.
Lodge members chose top cookies based on taste, appearance and presentation. Votes were donations to the Sons of Norway Foundation. Cookie bakers shared their recipes.
The celebration included tree trimming, a potluck luncheon and a visit from Julenisse, Norwegian Santa Claus. The old elf, portrayed by Ken Johnson of Yorkville, distributed presents to children.
Founded in 1895, Sons of Norway is a fraternal benefit society that includes the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture in modern society. With more than 55,000 members, Sons of Norway is the world's largest Norwegian organization outside Norway.
Polar Star Lodge meets on the first Sunday monthly at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, 1233 Douglas Ave. in Montgomery. Polar Star is among local lodges that offer activities including language camps and classes, cooking and heritage classes, heritage programs, sports programs and travel opportunities.
Area residents of Norwegian heritage are invited. Email Barb at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.