Petersburg on Monday wrapped up a six day Little Norway Festival complete with music, dancing and celebration under sunny skies. The annual event centers around May 17th, marking the signing of the Norwegian constitution and the community’s Norwegian heritage. It also marks Armed Services Day and a lull before the start of the busy fishing season.
The Petersburg High School drum corps kept the beat in Friday’s parade, while hundreds of PHS alumni marched along main street.
The next day at the festival pageant Director of ceremonies Tiffany Christensen recounted a history of the town. “Today people of many cultures have made Petersburg the cosmopolitan place it is today, rooted in the immigrant experience and still sending the fish out to the world,” Christensen said.
Governor Bill Walker was in town for his first visit and he also attended the pageant. “Later this month I have a dinner with the king of Norway, he is coming to Alaska. And I will explain to him he is coming to the wrong corner of Alaska,” Walker said. ” And I don’t need to go back to Norway because I have been here today. I have picked up a lot of knowledge since I’ve been here and so we’ll have plenty of conversation. I will suggest the next time he comes to Alaska that he come here and we have dinner here in Petersburg.”
This year’s winners of the Norwegian American award were Grant and Lila Trask. Festival committee chair Janet Holten read from the nomination for the award. “For decades the Trasks have gathered, rehearsed and presented the Little Norway festival chorus that sings the Norwegian national anthem in that language and in English at the pageant,” Holten read. “They are a great couple and always among the first asked to sing, dance and carry the fun and laughter of our Norwegian American heritage.”
“I’m very honored as Lila is to be part of this community,” Grant Trask said accepting the award. “I came to work but yet the people here are so precious. There’s never a better place to live than Petersburg Alaska. And so I’m glad I stayed. I’m here for the people and so is Lila. Thank you very much Petersburg.”
Another honor celebrated at the pageant came from, David Booker, customer service manager for Alaska Airlines in Petersburg. He highlighted Carey Carmichael Case for winning the airline’s photo contest this year, with a photo of ice bergs and her daughter Iris. “Carey won the 2015 photo contest for all of Alaska airlines,” Booker said. “That is no small feat because people from all over the world submit photos to that contest. And she won it and she is on page 40 of the magazine. And then on the cover of Horizon Airline Magazine is her winning photo. So, we perhaps have maybe launched a modeling career as well, we don’t know.” Case’s photos have also been installed on the wall of the Petersburg terminal for the airline.
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka and Marketa Ith of Petersburg won this year’s Lop the Loop run on Saturday during the Little Norway Festival. Dozens of runners, walkers and roller bladers competed in the four and a half mile race around Haugen Drive, Sandy Beach Road and North Nordic Drive.
Tomkins, Petersburg’s representative in the state house, was the fastest overall runner with a time of 27 minutes and 24 seconds. Kaleb Spragg came in just behind him on roller blades. Keith Billi was the second runner in, followed by Kole Sperl.
Marketa Ith was the fastest female runner with a time of 33 minutes and 48 seconds. Makayla Newman was second and Rachel Cramer was third.
Donnie Hayes won the biking division for children 8 and under.