Mika Hasbrouck introduces Stedman Elementary School fourth graders for the singing of the national anthem Thursday, May 19, 2022. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

The sun came out for Petersburg’s 63rd Little Norway Festival last week. A crowd watched the festival pageant under sunny skies on main street Thursday evening.

“Hey welcome to Little Norway Festival 2022,” said Chamber of Commerce board member Mika Hasbrouck.” Thanks for coming. It’s really nice to see all these faces and this fabulous weather after an odd couple of years.”

Petersburg had no festival in 2020 because of the pandemic. The community did celebrate last year but with smaller crowds and rainier weather. The festival honors Petersburg’s Norwegian heritage, the signing of the Norwegian Constitution as well as Armed Forces Day.

Dozens of festival dancers aged 6-14 performed at the pageant.

(Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Sue Paulsen presented a rosemaled chest to 2022 Norwegian American award winner, Marlene Cushing.

“After her long and illustrious career as our public health nurse, Marlene has made her second career working for causes and organizations that support quality health care for all of us,” Paulsen said. “Her service on the hospital board, her work to help people with cancer on the Beat the Odds committee, her painless injections at all of the vaccination clinics and health fairs make Marlene a powerful contributor to our health team at Petersburg. And then when Little Norway comes around Marlene puts on the bunad and she does everything. She carries around in the best traditions of Norwegian Americans in Petersburg.”

Marlene Cushing and Sue Paulsen (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Cushing retired in 2008 after three decades as public health nurse.  She shared memories of attending her first Little Norway Festival in 1978, shortly before moving here.

“It was just phenomenal, the whole event, and the dancing and the bunads I just loved and the feeling I got that this is a welcoming town that anyone can participate as much as they want to and doesn’t matter if you don’t have a drop of Norwegian blood,” Cushing said.

The evening also featured an adult tug o’ war between local residents and visitors. Festival events continued through Sunday.

A locals vs visitors tug o’ war on main street Thursday, May 19, 2022 (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)