Dalesburg Historical
History, heritage, community, and events


2015 Celebration of the St. Lucia

Saturday, December 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Dalesburg Lutheran Church.

Scandinavian Food and Program.

The 38th Celebration of the St. Lucia Tradition in Dalesburg – Lucia and Her Court.

Freewill Collection for Area Food Pantries.


Swedish Council of America’s Award of Merit

Ron Johnson was presented with the Swedish Council of America’s Award of Merit at a brunch hosted by Dalesburg Scandinavian Association on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at Dalesburg Lutheran Church.  Ron had been nominated by the other officers of Dalesburg Scandinavian Association.  For information about the Swedish Council of America’s Award of Merit, please go to:

http://www.swedishcouncil.org/?s=%22award+of+merit%22&x=0&y=0 and

http://www.swedishcouncil.org/sca-awards-recognition/award-of-merit/20 (Click on “2015 – AoM”)


Midsommar 2015 – June 19

Thank you for attending Midsommar (Midsummer) 2015 on June 19, 2015.  Read more.


All Saints’ Day is a day of dignity and reflection. The custom of lighting candles on family graves is still widely practiced, and anyone passing a cemetery in Sweden this weekend is met by some beautiful scenes.
Candlelit cemeteries. The countless points of light from the candles and lanterns placed on graves form beautiful patterns in the snow and lend a special feel to the landscape. People also lay flowers and wreaths on graves on All Saints’ Day. A jar of flowering heather stands up well to the cold.
First day of winter. In southern Sweden, outdoor work is nearing completion, while in the north, All Saints’ Day marks the first day of winter and the traditional start of the alpine ski season. Until recently, shops and stores were closed to mark the occasion. Although this is no longer the case everywhere, most Swedes take the day off, and those who don’t visit cemeteries usually stay at home with the family and cook an ambitious meal of some kind. Many churches organize concerts to celebrate All Saints’ Day.
All Saints’ Day – the origins In the year 731 AD, 1 November was designated a day of remembrance for saints of the church who had no days of their own. From the 11th century, 2 November was dedicated to all the dead, of whatever standing, and was called All Souls’ Day. It was widely observed by the populace, with requiems and bell-ringing, but was abolished with the arrival of the Reformation. In 1772, All Saints’ Day in Sweden was moved to the first Sunday in November and in 1953 to the Saturday between 31 October and 6 November. In the 1900s, however, people began putting lighted candles on the graves of the departed on All Saints’ Day. This custom originated with wealthy families in towns and cities. But after the World War II, it spread throughout the country. Churches also began holding services of light to mark the day.
Source: sweden.se/traditions/all-saints-day/

December 2014 – Area Events

Area Events

  • Friday, Dec. 5.  – Clay County Historical Society’s 2014 Tour of Homes For information, call the Austin-Whittemore House @624-8266 or check out the tour poster under “Events” at:  cchssd.org
  • Saturday, Dec. 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Society’s Sweets and Treats Goodies Bake sale will be held on  at the Austin-Whittemore House.
  • Saturday, December 6.  Annual Lutfisk & Meatball Dinner at St. Paul Lutheran Church, rural Elk Point – Vermillion.  For information call 712-277-4043.
  • Sunday, December 7.  Christmas Festival at the W.H. Over Museum in Vermillion. For information, call 605-677-5228.  www.whovermuseum.org/
  • December 11, 12 and 13.  St. Mark’s St. Lucia Festival.  For information call:   605-332-4092.

146th Annual Midsummer Festival in Dalesburg

Friday, June 19 and Sunday, June 21, 2015

The 37th Annual Celebration of the St. Lucia Tradition in Dalesburg

Please join us Saturday, December 13; 3:00 p.m. at Dalesburg Lutheran Church


Our Lucia Tradition in Dalesburg

Our Lucia Tradition began on December 13, 1977.  The Swedish language classes had begun in February 1977 and continued in the fall.  It was decided to have a Lucia celebration to end the “fall term.”  The evening began with a “service” in the sanctuary of Dalesburg Lutheran Church.  The “service” included a Lucia Court with Star Boys, songs and readings with Elmer Trotzig reading the Christmas Gospel in Swedish.  Following the “service” there was a potluck supper in the church basement which was followed by a “long dance” through the basement.

As the years passed we have changed to a sit-down event in the church basement with a Scandinavian buffet and program.   We continue to have a Lucia Court of local girls.  One of which is Lucia either by election or draw-of- the-hat.  We’ve added a julgran (Christmas tree) decorated in a Nordic style and sometimes the spelmän come and play a few tunes.

We celebrate a tradition that is very old and a tradition with a number of sources.  Some see the source as the Lucia who was martyred for her Christian faith during the time of the Roman Empire.  The story of her martyrdom and canonization as a saint came to Scandinavia with the coming of Christianity.  Some see the source as a young woman in white coming out of Nordic mythology.  The communality is “light.”  The “light” of St. Lucia who was blinded by her oppressors, symbolizes the gift of sight and our concern for the blind.  Lucia’s generosity in bring food to her friends serves as an example to us in how we should show compassion to others.  The “light” of the young woman in white came to the Vikings during the dark, long winter nights.  The young woman, later Lucia came during the longest nights to remind the people that these nights will pass and summer will return.

We each have our own reasons for celebrating Lucia.  We celebrate the legend and message of St. Lucia.  We celebrate our Scandinavian heritage in food.  We celebrate it in old hymns from pre-dawn julotta services on Christmas Days past.  We hear the Swedish heritage in the spoken and sung words of the language of our foreign-born ancestors.

We celebrate and are pleased with the participation of our younger people in our Lucia Celebration.  We welcome their presence at the celebration of our and their heritage.

Welcome to Lucia!  We welcome your presence.  We welcome your involvement in preparing for our annual event.

Ron Johnson

Annual Meeting & Luncheon of Dalesburg Scandinavian Association”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014. 

“Annual Meeting & Luncheonof Dalesburg Scandinavian Association”

Free Lunch!    

Call Connie Richards (605-763-5128) for location and time, and to make reservations.


Please bring the names of girls who would be interested in being in the Lucia Court  to the meeting or call Joan Huot (605-253-2568) with the names.  Thank You.

Dance to the Fiddle Oct 12 2014

‘Dance to the Fiddle’ program Oct. 12 2014 at Encounter Center

Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center


Contact: Marcia Poole, director


900 Larsen Park Road; Sioux City, Iowa 51103


‘Dance to the Fiddle’ program Oct. 12 at Encounter Center

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Oct. 1, 2014) – Live music, dancing and storytelling will celebrate the history of fiddle music at “Dance to the Fiddle” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12 at the Betty Strong Encounter Center. Admission will be free.

Singer and storyteller Ron Johnson, of Dalesburg, S.D., will read from Ole Rolvaag’s “Giants in the Earth,” Hamlin Garland’s “Sons of the Middle Border” and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House in the Big Woods.”

Each story will set the scene for demonstrations of various dances, including the polka, waltz and the schottische by dancers Kate McBride and Craig Shogren and family, of Herman, Nebraska.  Fiddlers will be Bill Peterson and Josh Scott and the guitarist is Charley Smith.

In Siouxland, fiddle-playing reaches back to countless immigrant stories, including that of the Rev. Daniel Peter Brown who helped Swedish settlers find land in Clay County, South Dakota.

“After preaching on Sunday mornings, Rev. Brown held dances in his cabin. His friend, ‘Fiddler Johnson,’ played for the dances,” says Peterson, a Canton, S.D., resident.

The free program also will connect to the Lewis & Clark Expedition’s favorite entertainment. fiddle music and dancing are described in the explorers’ journals numerous times, including Aug. 18, 1804, the 30th birthday of Capt. Meriwether Lewis in the present-day Sioux City area. The explorers danced until 11 p.m.

Perhaps the greatest dancing performance on the Lewis & Clark Trail was by French boatman Francois Rivet who “danced on his head” on Nov. 24, 1804, at Fort Mandan.

The Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and adjoining Betty Strong Encounter Center comprise a private, non-profit cultural complex built and sustained by Missouri River Historical Development, Inc. (MRHD). It is located on the Missouri Riverfront, exit 149 off I-29. Admission is free. For more information call 712-224-5242. Find the Center on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sclandc


Celebration of The St. Lucia Tradition

the St. Lucia Tradition
Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:00 P.M.
“Fiddler Nelson”
“Welcome and Prayer”
Ron Johnson
“The Christmas Story”
Luke 2:1-20
English: Pastor Martens
Swedish: Ron Johnson
“Fiddler Nelson”
“Legends of St. Lucia”
Jeff Erickson
“Lucia Procession and Serving”
“The Santa Lucia Song”
“Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus”
“Now Shine A Thousand Candles Bright”
“Presentation of the Lucia Court”
Joan Huot
“Jeg Er Så Glad Hver Julekveld”
“I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve”
“Nu Är Det Jul Igen”
“Now Is It Christmas Again”

Lucia Program 2013