Meatball lovers need not search out an Ikea to get their fix this weekend.
The 39th annual Swede Day Festival is set to take place on Saturday in Rochester. Vendors, games and entertainment will be based at Swede Hall located at 18543 Albany St beginning with a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
A parade will follow at 11 a.m. before a swedish meatball lunch at noon back at Swede Hall. Adults can pay $8 for the meal or $5 for a hamburger or bratwurst. Discounts are available for children up to 8 years old.
“When you go to Swede Day, it’s a feeling that you’re all doing something together on a Saturday that you don’t often do the rest of the year,” Kathy Hangartner, treasurer of the Rochester Citizens Group, said. “It’s a family-friendly atmosphere that you don’t have to be Swedish for to enjoy the whole day.”
Hangartner and RCG Vice President Roy Browning each said there has been an increased focus on providing more kid-friendly activities this year.
Pony rides and face-painting stations have been brought back after not appearing for the past few years. Carnival rides and games will be set up alongside other activities geared toward all ages.
Many local businesses donate their time, money and materials to the festival each year, and it was their feedback that helped spur the change.
Musical performances and a Taekwondo demonstration are among the afternoon highlights on the schedule of events.
“We’ve asked the community what was needed and the response was a desire to see more of those sorts of activities,” Hangartner said. “We want it to be inexpensive entertainment for the whole family.”
Highway 12 will be closed for the parade between 183rd Street to Albany St. from 10:30 a.m. to approximately noon.
Browning said that law enforcement officers will handle traffic and set up a detour route during that time.
People of Swedish descent settled the Independence Valley many years ago and built what is now Swede Hall. The Rochester Citizen’s Group has owned the building since 1978.
For more information, visit www.swedehall.com