MOUNT JEWETT — Forty-nine years and counting for the annual Mount Jewett Swedish Festival.
This festival is known for a few traditions, such as a Swedish Smorgasbord, Swedish Royalty Contest, a parade, fireworks, and many more family friendly activities. Children can come and enjoy carnival games and cotton candy, while adults can come and enjoy free, live entertainment. There is truly something for everyone.
The core committee for the festival consists of four officers; Beth Carpenter, chairperson; Lisa Leschner, co-chairperson; Leslie Davis, secretary; and Penny Conant, treasurer. These four people and many other volunteers are responsible for all that goes on behind the scenes, making the Swedish Fest possible.
“There are so many people that come together as a team to make this happen; so many involved and willing to dedicate their time and ideas,” stated Carpenter.
A lot of fundraising is required, year-round, which allows the Swedish Fest tradition to continue. Events such as a St. Paddy’s Day Party, Paint and Sips, cash drawings, and mystery gift giveaways have all been held to benefit and fund the festival. A great deal of time, effort, and work is put into the planning of the festival each year.
Connie Carlson, local business owner of Mount Jewett’s Kaffe’ Sol, has participated in Swedish Fest for the last 8 ½ years. Also, a longtime resident of the community, Carlson reminisced about her children participating in the crowning of prince and princess and dancing with those from different Indian cultures.
Carlson said, “the Seneca Indians would come and share their culture with us, by performing dances in costume and inviting those of us in the audience to dance along with them. It was a really great time.”
The Swedish Fest is important to Mount Jewett because it gives those from the community — especially those who have moved away — the opportunity to reunite and celebrate their hometown. The community welcomes those who are not from the area that come to enjoy the festivities, as well.
Next year marks the 50th year for the annual festival, anticipation is already setting in as the community eagerly waits to see what’s in store.