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Christmas Fair

Today we went to the Rødøy Christmas Fair. The most striking thing about it is how similar it is to the Scandinavian Fair in Boston, or Chicago. Food is sold cafeteria style: traditional dishes, coffee, and cake. And tables of handicraft for sale, half of which are hand-knitted woolen stuff: gloves, hats, sweaters, etc. Between eating and shopping, people mingle and kids dart around. The finale is the raffle drawing.

Full House

These Christmas Fairs are a permanent fixture in Norwegian culture, so it’s no surprise that those who immigrated to America try to recreate them in their adopted country. I remember the Scandinavian Fair in Chicago served a combo meal called the “Uff-da Special.” “Uff-da” has the same meaning as “Oh-o”. I dropped the glass. Uff-da. My sister got divorced. Uff-da. Interestingly, although Uff-da is alive and well among Norwegian-Americans, it was an old expression that’s not used much in Norway today.

Botnen-Chen Calendars

Of the roughly 150 people on the island, about 100 showed up. Kristin and I were among the merchants: we sold 2012 calendars made with the photos that I took around the island over the last few months. These calendars came in compact metal boxes that also function as stands. Although we sold quite a few, it’s not a money-making venture. I guess making money is not the main point for most of the sellers: the knitted goods mostly cost less than the yarn used to make them. The main point is to participate in the community, and raise money for the charity that organizes the event.

Red Currant Jelly

Knitted Christmas Tree Ornaments

Nisse, Norwegian Santa


Candle Holder

  1. Ellen Crocker #

    Oh, how fun; oh, how wonderful that you are there. Blow a kiss out over Norge for me. Love, Ellen in Bethel

    November 13, 2011
  2. Ellen Crocker #

    I don’t know if my comment got sent…

    Oh, how fun; oh, how wondrous that you are there. Blow a kiss out over Norge for me. Love, Ellen
    og,snart–glaedelig Jul!

    November 13, 2011
    • Thanks Ellen! On Columbus Day several of us reminisced about Crocker Pond House (, which is in my opinion the best bed-and-breakfast in New England. We’ll be there next year!

      November 13, 2011
  3. Ai TomBounDin #

    Uff-da! By the way “da” meens “yes” in Russian and is written and sound like this.
    This Fair has to be wonderful reception!
    Nice tradition, uff-da”-)

    November 13, 2011
  4. Tara Ten Eyck #


    We think of you all quite often, but yesterday in particular as we drove by the Scandinavian Fair in Concord. We happened upon it after an afternoon walking in the woods and lunch in town. Unfortunately, we were too late to enjoy it, which is a pity because I could really use a new pair of mittens and a new scarf! Are all these fairs held on the same day or was that just a coincidence?

    Your pictures are wonderful. We always look forward to hearing how your adventure is unfolding. Miss you guys….hugs and kisses to all!! xoxo

    November 13, 2011
    • Hi Tara,
      Kristin commented that it is the same day as the one in the Boston area. Probably just a coincidence. We were there last year, and Kristin had a stand selling safety reflectors.
      We miss you, too. Hope all is well.

      November 13, 2011
  5. peterjgillies #

    Regarding the Candel holder photo…..naked flames at a public event!!!!
    I would of said lovely to see complete disregarde for health and saftey laws…. but then your on a Norwiegian island and that sort of nonsense probably dosnt exist! Nice post as I just got back from my 2nd fair of the run.

    November 14, 2011

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