Lindsborg's Svensk Hyllningsfest coming next month, costume exhibit open

By Sentinel Staff

LINDSBORG - Svensk Hyllningsfest is a "Swedish Honoring Festival" founded in 1941 to honor the Swedish ancestry that settled in the Smoky Valley. Hosted during odd numbered years, the next festival is slated for Oct. 8 and 9. 

Residents of Lindsborg and don traditional Swedish folk costumes to celebrate the Swedish pioneers who settled the Smoky Valley in 1868 – 1869. The festival features art and crafts, special foods, ethnic music, and other entertainment including Swedish folk dancers and musicians.

Svensk Hyllningsfest is a "Swedish Honoring Festival"  hosted in odd numbered years in Lindsborg. The next festival is slated for Oct. 8 and 9.

One of the most noticeable parts of the festival is the  colorful costumes worn by participants. The folk costumes have been a part of Hyllningsfest since its beginning in 1941 and add a unique charm to the festival.

This year an exhibit of more than 30 Lindsborg folk costumes will be on display in an exhibit that opened this week and will be open  through October 31 at the Smoky Valley Arts & Folklife Center, 105 N. Main Street, Lindsborg 

The exhibition will feature historical costumes dating back to the very first festival as well as costumes worn by well-known residents including Birger Sandzén.

“What makes this so special is that if you live in Lindsborg or have ever lived here, you probably have a costume,” Lesa Larson, one of the organizers of the exhibit, said. “It’s an all-in thing if you live here. It’s proof that anybody can be Swedish for one day.”

The costumes in the exhibit are not necessarily accurate replicas of traditional Swedish costumes but more of a reflection of the person who wore them, according to Larson. They are all handmade, many made by moms, grandmothers, and some made by local tailors. The exhibition will include photographs and stories about the people who wore the costumes as well as a book that includes photos and stories from the past four costume exhibits.

“They are all so different,” Larson said. “There are no two alike. Some are modeled to represent the part of Sweden where the person’s ancestors came from but most are unique to Lindsborg and the people who made them. Many who come to see the exhibit remember the person who worn the costume and will take their picture with the costume because they knew the person who wore it.”

An exhibition of Lindsborg folk costumes has been part of Svensk Hyllningsfest for the past four events. This year’s exhibit is moved to a larger location and will be on display for a much longer time giving more people an opportunity to see it. 

“It has grown each year,” Larson said. “In the past, it has been on display only during Hyllningsfest weekend and last year drew 1,000 visitors. We are hoping a larger venue and more time will give even more people an opportunity to see it. Especially our local residents who are generally busy during the festival and don’t always have time to come in and enjoy the exhibit.”

An exhibit of more than 30 Lindsborg folk costumes will be on display through October 31 at the Smoky Valley Arts & Folklife Center in downtown Lindsborg.

Smoky Valley Arts & Folklife Center is located at 105 N. Main Street in Lindsborg and is open Friday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. More information can be found at smokyvalleyartsandfolklifecenter.org. Svensk Hyllningsfest will take place on October 8-9. Information and event schedule can be found at svenskhyllningsfest.org.

An opening reception for the exhibit is scheduled for Friday, September 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. during the Lindsborg Makers Street event.