Weekend highlight: Tastes of Norway Norwegian Cultural and Heritage Day, March 19, Leif Erikson Lodge, Seattle; and Seattle French Fest, March 20, Seattle Center.
Celebrate Tastes of Norway Norwegian Cultural and Heritage Day Saturday, March 19, in Ballard, and French culture around the world at French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures on Sunday, March 20, at Seattle Center.
Leif Erikson Lodge, named in honor of the Norse (medieval Norwegian) explorer who landed in North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus, hosts Tastes of Norway Norwegian Cultural and Heritage Day Saturday. Events start with the Leif to Leif Fun Run/Walk from the Lodge in Ballard to the statue of Leif Erikson on Shilshole Bay and back, rewarded with a waffle with jam and a mini Norwegian flag for everyone at the finish line.
Since “Tastes” is the festival’s first name, there’s plenty of traditional Norwegian food, from smorbrod open-face sandwiches and ertesuppe pea soup to the Bakeri’s lefse, krumkaker and vaffler desserts, many with demonstrations on making them at home. Accordions, fiddles, ukuleles and musical groups provide entertainment throughout the day, artists demonstrate traditional Norwegian handicrafts, and genealogy experts provide research to find your Norwegian ancestors. Anyone wearing a traditional Norwegian folk costume is invited to join in the Bunad Parade of clothing and jewelry, at noon.
French Fest Sunday celebrates France’s influence around the world, drawing inspiration from International Francophonie Day traditions to showcase the diversity of French-influenced cultures and traditions around the world. Opening ceremonies for the fourth annual event include honorary consuls of France, Canada and Belgium. Performances in French and English throughout the day feature North Seattle French School Children’s Choir, Heather Keizur Band, a musical presentation on the Statue of Liberty, and dance, music, history and culture of Tahiti with Te Fare O Tamatoa Tahitian Dancers. Seminars explore the history of fashion, cooking and the wine industry in France. There are art projects for kids, and the University of Washington French Department hosts spelling and grammar tests for French students of all ages. The Salon de l’Emploi job fair hosts local and multinational companies with opportunities for people proficient in French. A French marketplace offers household items, jewelry, art and books, and French cuisine including brioche, crepes, croissants and samples from local bakeries competing in the “Best Baguette” contest.
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All events are free, with the exception of Leif to Leif run/walk’s small fee to benefit Ballard Senior Center.