Taste of Norway in Iola
Event features lost arts, crafts, food
By Greg Loescher
Watch Norwegian pastry making, lefse making and Lost Arts artisans ply their crafts at the seventh annual Taste Of Norway & Lost Arts Fair on Saturday, Oct. 1, at. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the society’s Historic Iola Village complex.
Proceeds from the event are being used to pay for the restoration of the historic Iola & Northern Railroad depot, built in 1894, along with other Iola Historical Society needs.
Taste of Norway provides visitors with tastes of Norwegian pastries as well as demonstrations on how they are made. Iola Historical Society members experienced in preparing Norwegian goodies, ranging from lefse, smultrenger (fry cakes), krumkaka, sandbakkels, rosettes, and fattigman, will explain and demonstrate how to make them.
The cooking demonstrations on how to make lefse and Norwegian pastries will be staggered over the Taste of Norway time-frame from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pastries – lefse, fry cakes, cookies and other homemade baked goods – will be available to purchase, while supplies last, in dozen and half-dozen increments.
Taste of Norway samples with coffee will also be available for $1.50.
Iola’s famous Crystal Café will sell pies by the slice as well as whole pies, pulled pork sandwiches, and homemade chips and dip. Iola’s bakery, Taste of Elegance, will have specialty breads for sale.
The Iola Lions Club will hold a brat fry, along with grilled hot dogs from Pine Grove Meats of Iola, with an option to have the hot dog placed in lefse rather than a bun. The Lions will provide a donation drop-box for collecting used eyeglasses and hearing aids.
Troop 631 (Iola) of the Boy Scouts of America will sell soda and water.
Taste of Norway raffle tickets, sold locally by Iola Historical Society members, will be available on site the day of the event. The price per raffle ticket is $2, or three tickets for $5.
The drawing for a 98-by-98-inch handmade quilt, valued at $1,200, and more than 30 other prizes will take place at 2:45 p.m., at the end of the event. The quilt, dubbed “Midnight Stars,” was made by members of the Norske Needlers, an Iola-based quilting group.
The popular Lost Arts Fair features demonstrations of lost arts ranging from jewelry making, rosemaling, rugweaving and beekeeping, among others. Some of the artisans have items for sale.
“One-Room Schoolhouse Kid’s Activities” will take place in the replica vintage schoolhouse, sponsored by the Sons of Norway’s Norskeland Lodge 5-580 of Iola. The children’s program lasts 45 minutes to an hour. Each new session starts on the hour, beginning at 10 a.m.
Children and adults can try out the vintage corn sheller that can be found in front of the schoolhouse.
The Iola-Scandinavia Chamber of Commerce’s 17th annual Fall Gift & Craft Show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show includes vendors selling wool items, handmade soaps, Norwegian wear, jewelry, embroidery, holiday decorations, soy candles, quilted items, handmade caramels, doll clothes, metal garden-art sculptures, and many other items.
Vendors interested in exhibiting can pick up an application at the Iola Car Show office at 160 N. Chet Krause Drive. The cost is $30 per 10×10-foot spots located under two large tents next to The Machine Shed.
Iola Historical Society docents will provide information on the historic buildings on the grounds. The buildings include the Helvetia Town Hall; a replica of Iola’s first fire station; replica of a one-room schoolhouse; a circa-1920s log cabin, originally used locally by hunters; the original Iola & Northern Railway depot and a vintage caboose. While the depot and caboose are currently undergoing restoration, the depot will be open to the public, but the caboose will be closed.
The society’s museum will also be open during the event. The museum’s newly-made display cases contain a Native American artifacts exhibit that is under development, vintage Norwegian immigrant items, the Stromberg violin collection, and many other items of local history.
Also featured is a display about Lee Nelson, Iola’s “Humble Hero.” Nelson was a B-17 bomber pilot who flew missions over France and Germany in World War II. His autobiography published by the Iola Historical Society is available for sale at the event, along with other local history books.
The Machine Shed contains vintage farming and manufacturing equipment used locally, including the recent acquisition and dedication of machines from Iola’s R.I. Anderson Machine Shop. The Machine Shed is where the Taste of Norway food court will be located.
Docents will be in each of the buildings to provide historical information and answer questions.
The Iola & Rural Fire Department will hold its annual fire extinguisher check at the 1901 vintage Iola Fire Station at the Iola Historic Village. The department has arranged with licensed fire systems supplier Fire Pro to provide, at a nominal charge of $5 per unit, on-site fire extinguisher checks from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Department personnel will check and service personal handheld fire extinguishers to be sure they are current for use and insurance purposes.
The replica station contains Iola’s first three pieces of mechanized firefighting apparatus, dating from 1913, 1926 and 1942.
Members of the Central Wisconsin Tractor Club will have classic tractors on display.
Visitors can also take a fall walk along the new Iola Lions River Walk that follows the Little Wolf River from North Main Street to Townline Road and is accessible mid-point behind the Machine Shed. The historic Iola Mills, built in 1860, is located at the east end of the trail.
The Iola Historical Society’s complex is located at 210 Depot St., just west of downtown Iola.
For more information on the event, go to www.iolahistoricalsociety or www.ischamber.com.