LINDSBORG — An event that many have come to know and love in the heart of Little Sweden U.S.A, is returning for its 76th anniversary this year — Svensk Hyllningsfest.

The fun-filled weekend kicks off at 9 a.m. Oct. 13 at J.O Sundstrom Conference Center on the second floor and runs through Oct. 14.

“It’s an important way for Lindsborg to share and celebrate its Swedish heritage and to honor the Swedish immigrants that founded the community" explained Tina Goodwin, member of the Svensk Hyllningsfest committee.

Svensk Hyllningsfest is celebrated on odd-numbered years in October, with this year's theme being "Swedes@Play."

New this year are helicopter rides, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14.

The helicopter will take off and land at Soderstrom Elementary School and each flight will last three to four minutes. There is no age limit to be able to ride and up to three passengers can ride together for $40 a person.

Friday evening will culminate with the popular event, Jazz at the J.O., a concert featuring the Anna Jalkéus group at the J.O. Sundstrom Conference Center in downtown Lindsborg. Jalkéus is an award-winning jazz vocalist, harpist, and composer. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at the Hyllningsfest website.

Annual events include arts and crafts, special foods, ethnic music, Swedish folk dancers and musicians.

In addition to activities and costumes, the festival draws in crowds searching for tasty Swedish treats.

Much of the food is prepared from recipes that have been handed down from early Swedish settlers.

Traditional folk dancing, choirs, joke-telling, parades, food and a grand parade will end the event on Saturday.

The parade will be led by Hyllningsfest royalty, Chester G. and Jeanette Peterson, along with parade grand marshals Bob and Sally Vogel, the interim president of Bethany College of 2015 and his wife.

Area marching bands will be included in the parade like Smoky Valley Middle School Band in Swedish costume attire, floats, Bethany College homecoming royalty and others. All events are free to enter unless otherwise noted. Hyllningsfest buttons are $5 in advance or $10 at the event. The buttons are support buttons that help cover the cost of the festival, most of which is free to visitors in the region. 

A full list of events, prices and more can be found at http://www.svenskhyllningsfest.org/ or on their Facebook page Svensk Hyllningsfest

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.