A Day at the Scandinavian Festival

A couple of weekends ago, as my friends were traipsing around the desert and paying an obscene amount of money at Coachella, I spent the weekend experiencing a mild case of FOMO. In an attempt to relive my glory days, I decided to get my own daily dose of festival in good ol’ Thousand Oaks.

WHAT!?You’ve never heard of Thousand Oaks?!

I grew up in Thousand Oaks and even though I live in Los Angeles now, I find myself back in my hometown a lot more often than I had anticipated. One of the reasons for returning is to partake in the Scandinavian Festival at California Lutheran University.


California Lutheran University, a private university in Thousand Oaks, has quite a bit of Scandinavian history. The land that CLU is founded on was the land donated by Richard Pederson, the son of Norwegian immigrants and one of the founding landowners of the Conejo Valley. There is also a fairly large Scandinavian study abroad group that studies at CLU every semester. Today, the university has a thriving Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation that promotes a Scandinavian education and entertainment. Thus, the Scandinavian Festival was born. And I love it.

Technically, I’m not Swedish. I just have a soft spot for Sweden.

This year, I went with my mother-in-law-to-be, Linda. Her husband (my future father-in-law) is Norwegian, so learning about his heritage is always fun. And as I mentioned, I can’t get enough of Scandinavia. And these little creatures:

Look at this Norwegian Elkhound


But let me start with the best part of the festival: the flower crowns.

I love flower crowns. Like love them. But UGH. I feel like such an idiot when I say that. Like a trendy, privileged white-girl. But who cares right? Because I LOVE FLOWER CROWNS.

Pretty sure I was the only one over 12 making a crown, btw.

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Let me tell you, seniors loved my flower crown. The festival was crowded with young mothers, masses of children and a ton of old people. Every person I passed in a wheelchair or with a walking cane had to smile and comment.

“You look absolutely adorable” or “What an angelic little girl” they said. I could have easily passed as a Swede in their unsuspecting eyes.

I might have curtsied a couple of times as an attempt to say, “thank you.”

Our next stop was the food. Linda was excited to get her hands on aebleskivers while I was all about the lingonberry soda. And Swedish meatballs. We grabbed some moderately expensive grub and enjoyed the cultural dancing traditions of the North.





After stuffing our faces for about 30 minutes, we decided to take in the art and chachkis.




Past the handcrafted artwork and the maypole was a quaint Viking village, where characters told stories and handed children large weapons.

Did you know that the term “viking” is a verb, not a noun? I had many Norsemen tell me this, as well as tell me that they were really into Viking fantasy-play. Learn something new everyday.

IMG_2054IMG_2051IMG_2050IMG_2049IMG_2048Two hours, a few pounds heavier, a mild sunburn later, we left the festival. As always, I had an amazing time and will be back next year. So take that, Coachella!

One comment on “A Day at the Scandinavian Festival”

  1. I’m a big fan of the festival as well! I’m a Norwegian living in LA. Love your flower crown. I’ll be there this year volunteering. That’s what I do now that my kids are too busy to go with me.

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