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Geneva gets taste of Swedish culture

Traditional dishes served downtown

Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 10:13 p.m. CDT
(Charles Menchaca -
Ann Waldo (right), 11, of Hinsdale battles a Viking, portrayed by Garett Schweikhofer of Batavia, during the Sweden Väst event at the Swedish Days Festival in Geneva.

GENEVA – Karen Pedersen had heard about the traditional Swedish dish of lutfisk for years, but she never tried it before Saturday.

Pedersen finally got her first taste of the dried cod dish during her first trip to the Swedish Days Festival in Geneva with her husband, Harold.

"I didn't think I would like it, but it tasted good," said Pedersen, an Addison resident.

The Pedersens were among the many groups of people who came to experience the Sweden Väst on Saturday and Sunday during the festival. The event was held under a large white tent on Fourth Street between State and Hamilton streets in downtown Geneva.

Sweden Väst, which features art, food, live music and dancing, became a part of the festival in 2012, said Laura Rush, Geneva Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman.

"We did this to bring the Swedish back to Swedish Days," Rush said.

In addition to the lutfisk, other Swedish food offerings included limpa bread, lingonberries and meatballs. Ann Waldo, 11, and her brother John, 8, had the Swedish meatballs and Swedish soda for lunch, said their mother, Beth Waldo.

The Waldo children also enjoyed fighting a viking, portrayed by Garett Schweikhofer of Batavia, outside the event tent with a foam sword and shield.

Saturday marked the Waldos' return to Swedish Days from their Hinsdale home after a few years hiatus.

"I think they've added more things that are traditionally Swedish," said Adam Waldo, Ann and John's father.

Ingrid Rowlett was dressed Swedish from head to toe while she served lutfisk. She wore a traditional Swedish costume from the Östergötland province in Southern Sweden. Rowlett is the owner and president of I.B. Quality Cabinets in Geneva.

Rowlett's sister had a handmade display case under the tent that included wood carvings, Swedish Christmas decorations and krona, the currency of Sweden.

"I think a lot of people come to enjoy the Swedish traditions," Rowlett said.

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