MN 150Norwegian Statehood Pioneer Project
Celebrating Minnesota's Sesquicentennial

History of  the Pioneer Project

  Norwegian-Minnesotan Sesquicentennial Celebration

ProgramOn October 18, 2008, Norwegian-Minnesotans gathered for a special Sesquicentennial Celebration in Rochester, Minnesota.

Afternoon Program

A "Norwegian Marketplace" full of Norwegian crafts, clothing, books and gifts was open from noon until 5 pm.

The Master of Ceremonies for the Afternoon Program was Gary Olson, President of the Rochester Sons of Norway Lodge and past president of Nord Hedmark og Hedemarken Lag.

Keyboard Accompanist was Elaine Nordlie, past president of Telelaget.

The Color Guard included flagbearers and Statehood Pioneer descendants Ashley Goodwin (US flag), Kjell Hoelstad (Norwegian flag), Al Stevens (Minnesota flag), and Jared Thoreson (Sesquicentennial Flag).  The national anthem and pledge of allegiance were led by Boy Scout Troop #78 of Mazeppa, Minnesota.

"They're All Bound for Minnesota" Keynote Speaker Dr. Odd Lovoll, Professor Emeritus, St. Olaf College, is acknowledged in both the US and Norway as a leading authority on the Norwegian immigrant experience.

John Berquist entertained with stories and music on his button accordion.

"Call of the Roll"  Statehood Pioneer descendants Georgia Rosendahl and Jim Skree read the names of over 100 Norwegians who lived in Minnesota when it became a state for whom applications had been made and approved.

Memorial Service Pastor Per Inge Vik of Mindekirken, Minneapolis, led us in a memorial service honoring our Norwegian-Minnesotan pioneer ancestors.  Ole and Helge Gamme of Gran, Norway, led us in the Norwegian National Anthem.

"Those Lutheran Ladies" Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson made us laugh as they recalled what it was like growing up in Norwegian communities in the years after WWII.

Celebration Program (pdf format)

Reception and Banquet

The Rochester Accordion Band created just the right atmosphere for the cash bar reception.

The Mistress of Ceremonies for the Banquet Program was Sandra Hendrickson, President of Landingslaget.

Leroy Larson and the Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble brought the evening to a close with a great program of music and humor.

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