Almelund

It takes a village to demonstrate what life was like years ago. At the Almelund threshing grounds there are examples of a mercantile store, a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse and more. 

 

Summer may be slipping by at what feels like record speed, but before you have to bring out the rake comes an August milestone, the annual Almelund Threshing Show. There, people of all ages can reminisce and imagine rural farming life more than a hundred years ago in the presence of authentic, original buildings and equipment from that period in history.

Of course, Scandia’s Gammelgården Museum wants to take part. As America’s only open-air Swedish heritage museum, featuring restored buildings and genuine artifacts of long-ago immigrants, their mission and purpose aligns closely with that of historic Almelund. In previous years, they’ve participated in the show by setting up a Swedish crafts station on the second floor of the courthouse, but this year, a window has opened up for them to run a longer program in the Clover Blossom School.

“We weren’t getting much action with our crafts and whatnot,” said Gammelgården’s director, Lynne Blomstrand Moratzka. However, a group that typically organized an event in the one-room schoolhouse decided not to continue this year. 

“So the people at Almelund came to the museum and said, “would you be happy in the Clover Blossom School?” Moratzka recalled. 

Gammelgården was enthusiastic, to say the least. This year, their programming features more than crafts, although it still includes the opportunity to paint Dala horses and create May baskets. 

Each day’s activities begin at 10 a.m. with memory exercises similar to those that might have been done in the days of one-room schoolhouses, such as spelling, mental math bees and a trivia contest about the history of the St. Croix River Valley. The lunchtime hours will feature classic schoolyard games such as “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck” — never, of course, call it “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

Arts and crafts will take place in the early afternoon, followed by a presentation by intern Tess Walker on how immigrant children learn new languages, and finally, an old-fashioned sing-along, with area musicians Ross and Marta Nelson leading on guitar and fiddle. 

The museum hopes that many of the estimated 10,000 spectators who patronize the Almelund Threshing Show every year will want to join in on the festivities, which take place August 9-11. Admission is $10 per day, with the option of buying a $20 pass valid for all three days. As always, proceeds benefit Almelund’s volunteer fire department. 

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