Tusen Takk – A Thousand Thanks

When hearts overflow with gratitude the Norwegian language lays it on thick with not just one “thank you,” but with “a thousand thanks.” As we near the end of our Together at Kringen Campaign, we are ready to celebrate the generosity of our Sons of Norway members. Gifts to the campaign are closing in on our $1,000,000 goal to recover our Covid losses and rejuvenate our facilities. On Thursday evening, July 15th, we invite all who have contributed to join in a celebration banquet hosted by the Kringen Club.

Chris Carlson will brighten up the evening with his wit and humor as our Master of Ceremonies. In addition to recognizing the Campaign Committee and honoring the donors, we will be treated to music composed by Norway’s virtuoso violinist, Ole Bull. Tightening up the strings on her Covid-weary violin, Karin Andreasen-Gambell has been working to replicate Ole Bull’s Visit to the Mountain Cabin. After a delicious serving of fresh salmon followed by a taste of rømmegrøt, we will be ready for a virtual walk in the mountains.

The Kringen Club is still accepting donations to the campaign and would like to honor every donor with an invitation to the banquet. Please make sure we receive your name and your check by our deadline on July 8th. For all the support we have received through this campaign, we raise our voices to say “Tusen Takk!”

Til Seters – To the Mountain Cabin

by John Andreasen, Kringen Lodge President

From the Lodge President

The old-time family farm gets ready for summer by moving livestock and a few necessary items up the steep trails to the mountain pasture – the seter. Farmers cut the grassy hay lands in the valley to provide forage for the winter, but the lush mountain meadows welcome the goats, sheep, cows, pigs and horses to a summer pasture. The farming operation at the seter, often run by the women and the girls, milked cows and goats, churned butter, and made cheese. They herded the cattle with the help of a tinkling cowbell. Nestled in the mountains, along lakes and streams, the workers enjoyed the drawn-out evenings with the almost-never setting sun.

Today, many of the old seters still survive. Owners have fixed them up to be attractive year-round cabins, ideal for winter skiing and summer hiking. While there may still be a few cattle grazing in the summer highlands and hikers hear an occasional cowbell, the work at the seter has changed dramatically. The mountain cabin is now a place of relaxation and refreshment enjoying the beauty of Norway’s outdoor paradise.

As we move into another summer season in the Red River Valley, many maintain the Norwegian tradition of transitioning to a summer cottage or lake home. It’s a time to seek refreshment in the “lakes country” with water sports and family gatherings. May you find time and opportunities this summer to make a trip – “Til seters!”

Note: The Arvid Benson Seter conference room at the Kringen Klub, also known as the Viking Room, was decorated by noted Norwegian artist Arvid “Chris” Kristoffersen from Kragero, Telemark, Norway. It is styled to look like the interior of a traditional Norwegian seter.

Barnetoget – The Children’s Parade

By John Andreasen, Lodge President

The Seventeenth of May children’s parade captures the essence of Norway’s Constitution Day celebration. The proud display of red, white, and blue in flags and costumes pays tribute to the Norwegian democracy founded in 1814.

Syttende Mai celebration at Kringen Lodge image

As a student in Norway, I vividly remember participating in the children’s parade in front of the royal palace in Oslo. King Olav and his family stood on the balcony waving tirelessly to the thousands of smiling children. A sense of national pride was nurtured in each child marching in the parade. Participation builds a loyalty to last for a lifetime.

When I think of our mission in Sons of Norway, to preserve and promote our heritage, I can think of no more powerful way to pass on the abiding values of our culture, than to involve our children. A children’s parade serves as a reminder that a new generation embraces the values we hold dear. Even more than a reminder to seniors is the fact that children are building memories for themselves. By dressing up, marching with friends, and waving the national colors, children learn the vocabulary of freedom. We have both an obligation and an opportunity to celebrate with our younger family members.

On the 17th of May let us tell our children and grandchildren about this colorful heritage. Let us look for ways in our own families to celebrate the freedom and democracy we cherish, both as Norwegians and Americans. Bring out a flag, share an ancestral story and treat your Norwegian taste buds to a favorite family tradition.

As a member of Sons of Norway, you are invited to enjoy a Syttende Mai Dinner of torsk and meatballs, followed by a festive program and dance at the Kringen Lodge on Monday, May 17th. Come and join the celebration!

“Samarbeid:” Teamwork

By John Andreasen, Lodge President

In my mind’s eye, I see a picture of two yoked oxen pulling a single blade plow to break the prairie sod. They work together to complete a difficult task. Our local Sons of Norway work moves forward with a Kringen team: The Lodge and the Club. Together they provide strength to turn vision into reality.

The Kringen Lodge serves as the local face of the Sons of Norway International organization. Lodge membership gives us cultural activities, scholarships, insurance, and the Viking magazine. It connects us with lodges across the United States, Canada, and Norway. Through lodge activities, we study the language, participate in arts and crafts, enjoy cultural programs to preserve our heritage and extend our culture. However, a local lodge cannot own property.

The Kringen Club, on the other hand, was formed to own and manage property. What a blessing! The Kringen Club purchased the building where we operate the Kringen café, the Troll Lounge, a library, a ballroom, as well as deriving rental income from the remainder of our facilities. The Lodge and Club operate as one team, each pulling a heavy load to move our Sons of Norway forward.

Both the Lodge and Club have been under great stress during the pandemic. Cultural activities have been shut down, membership and its revenues have dropped off. Our food and beverage service slumped dramatically. Our renters gave up their contract due to the need to work from home. We have dipped deeply into our re-serves. But all is not lost.

With assistance from forgivable government loans and gifts from generous donors we have completed major renovations and are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. A Campaign Committee has been working to generate additional revenue to rebuild our reserve fund and complete the renovations. By mid-April, you will receive an update on our fund-raising efforts along with an invitation to join the campaign to move us forward as the local Sons of Norway. While the oxen look ahead, the farmer, and those of us with him, look back to see all that has been accomplished. The fresh soil is ready for planting.

Prepare for the Jump

By John Andreasen, Lodge President

Not just anybody can climb to the top of the ski jump, glide down the track, fly through the winter air, and land on two feet. Preparation is essential to make the big leap: training, equipment, skill, and nerves of steel. While 70,000 may gather in the grandstand, only a few accept the challenge to fly to glory.

Ski jumpers are part of a long tradition dating back to 1809 in Norway

Ski jumpers are part of a long tradition dating back to 1809 in Norway

The Kringen Lodge has its “snowbirds”. For months ahead they prepare for the flight to a warmer climate. They pack their suitcases, plan their route, bid farewell to friends, obligations and set off to realize their dreams. The big jump is rewarded with warmer weather, reunions with friends, and a welcome break from winter. Most of the risk is eliminated with detailed preparation.

The Sons of Norway got its start helping Norwegians prepare to face high-risk situations that would impact only a small number of people. Immigrants agreed to help their neighbors in the event of catastrophe by putting money into insurance policies before the disaster struck. For 125 years policyholders have found comfort by leaning on one another. It still happens.

There is a ski jump for all of us when the sun begins to set. I encourage you to plan ahead. Rely on your friends at Sons of Norway to get your winter home in order before flying away. Update your will. Review your beneficiaries. Share your resources. You will be rewarded with less anxiety and the freedom to fly with confidence.


By John Andreasen, Lodge President

"Leif Eriksson Discovers America" painting

“Leif Eriksson Discovers America”
by Christian Krohg, 1893 “Landkjenning” – to discover the shoreline

This Norwegian painting shows Leif Eriksson, with one hand steering his sturdy Viking ship, pointing ahead to the distant shoreline – the North American continent. He is looking ahead with confidence to an unknown future.

This is a reminder of where we are this month with the Sons of Norway. We are together in a ship on a turbulent sea, with our eyes focused on the future. We will be finished with the Covid journey and soon put our feet on solid ground. Once we make landfall, I hope to build on three foundational pillars for our work together.

First, as we come out of our self-imposed isolation, we can enjoy the warmth of meeting face-to-face. Renewing acquaintances and building new relationships has been the Norwegian experience in America for almost 200 years. We share our identity, we learn about our heritage, and we develop our culture.

Second, as members of Sons of Norway, we are a caring community, protecting our-selves from loss through insurance coverage, and helping others through educational and humanitarian programs. With professional guidance, we invest for retirement and pass our values on to the next generation.

Third, along with the crew on the Viking ship, we each have an important role to play in building our community. We will work together to strengthen our Kringen Lodge and Club. We have officers, trustees, employees, volunteers and over 1100 members. Together we face exciting opportunities and heart-warming experiences.

A landing is in sight – “landkjenning!” Pray for the wind to fill the sails and the strength to pull the oars.

“Bakover” and “Fremover”

by John Andreasen, Lodge President-Elect

These two Norwegian words, “bakover” and “fremover” describe the view from the threshold of the New Year: looking back and looking ahead.

The year 2020 will be remembered for shuttering the windows of our activities and social life in the Kringen Lodge. In spite of Covid-19 we paged through the Viking, discovered Zoom technology and celebrated the 125th Anniversary of Sons of Norway. The highlight of our “Fill the Stabbur” campaign to raise $1,250 surpassed all expectations with over $5,600 directed to the Sons of Norway Foundation with gifts still coming in. Thanks to all who donated to this fund. The food drive is extended to April 1.

Looking ahead we have a change in officers for 2021, elected at our December meeting. Many thanks to Mark Voxland as Lodge President and Doug Benson as Klub President during this past year. They have given energetic, hands-on leadership during challenging times. With optimism for a return to what we knew as normal, we will begin planning cultural programs and activities. We look to rebuild our membership, increase our financial planning emphasis, utilize our library, and begin organizing for the District IV Convention in 2022.

For greater awareness of our many benefits, check our Kringen website: sonsofnorwayfargo.com; District website: sofn-district4.com; International website: sofn.com.

Looking “fremover” to a great year!