I think my favorite addition to this year doesn’t even involve anything actually at the festival.
Well, it IS at the festival, of course, but it’s also on your smart phone. It’s the new , bringing Swedish Days and its attractions to Android and Apple mobile devices (including the iPad).
“One of our chamber members, C.G.Tek, donated it to us,” said Laura Rush, communications manager for the , which puts on Swedish Days (presented by Cadence Health). “It will tell you the schedule, it will let you Google your location versus where you’re trying to go, it will tell you the weather ... We joke that the weather should be set permanently for 75 and sunny,” Rush laughed.
The new app provides links to the chamber mobile site, the Swedish Days information page and the “Festival Deals” page, which is the same page that can be accessed by scanning the festival QR code found in store and restaurant windows all over town.
Swedish Days—this year is the 63rd annual—is nearly upon us. As is traditional, it begins the Tuesday after and will run through the following Sunday.
There are plenty of old favorites, including the carnival, craft show, sidewalk sales, Friday’s Kids’ Day fun, the Sunday parade and entertainment.
I asked Rush to give me just a sampling of some of the new attractions.
The Zip Line, set for 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday on South Third Street, in front of the former Merra-Lee store. For $10, participants will zip 200 feet, 28 feet high in the air. (My prediction: The line, so to speak, will be long for this one!)
Sweden Väg, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 23, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 24, on North Fourth Street, between State and Hamilton streets. “It’s a block of all things Swedish: artists, food, games, activities, music,” Rush said. The fictional Pippi Longstocking (portrayed by Geneva High School junior Megan Grant) will be there talking with visitors, and a photo booth and Velcro Wall will add to the fun.
Ingrid Erikson Rowlett, owner of I.B. Quality Cabinets (which is sponsoring Sweden Väg), came to the Fox Valley from Sweden, Rush said. Rowlett will be wearing her mother’s Swedish dress and also will be playing her parents’ recordings of Swedish music. A Swedish storyteller will discuss Swedish folklore (sponsored by the ) and Swedish artists will have works on display, many of which will be available for purchase. The International Cultural Exchange Committee will run a “Skype booth,” at which people will be able to Skype with people in Sweden. There will be games, as well, including a Bozo Bucket kind of game in which kids will toss meatballs, instead of ping pong balls. And the Nordic Folk Dancers of Chicago will perform traditional Scandinavian dancing at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23.
“People will be able to hear the music and see the sights, enjoy the food—just experience a lot of things Swedish,” Rush said. “It’s bringing the ‘Swedish’ back to Swedish Days.”
A Swedish cottage will be the entrance to Sweden Väg.
Swedish Cinema on State. Partnering with Geneva Underground Playhouse, movies for kids will be shown at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 19 and 21 (Tuesday and Thursday) and at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday (June 20) at the playhouse, 524 W. State St. It’s a perfect way to escape any Swedish Days heat for a bit of time. What titles? Well, some tricky laws are in play, Rush said, but one movie involves a plucky Swedish redheaded girl with braids while the other is the film version of a stage play and will have you humming along to the songs of the Swedish pop group ABBA. (That movie will be shown Wednesday, June 20, not coincidentally mere hours before an takes the South Third Street Central Stage.)
, with competing on Central Stage at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, and then finalists set to perform at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23. Judges already have whittled the initial 75 contestants to 21.
Radio Disney, which will host a concert featuring Bartlett-native Shealeigh, the Season Four “N.B.T.” (Next BIG Thing) winner. The Radio Disney AM 1300 Road Crew will provide interactive entertainment and prices from 4 to 5:30 p.m., with Shealeigh will take the stage at 5:30 p.m. A “meet and greet” session follows, though Shealeigh will be able to meet only as many fans as time permits.
The appearances for the first time at Swedish Days of popular bands 7th Heaven” (8 p.m. Friday, June 22) and “Hi Infidelity” (8 p.m. Saturday, June 23).
It’s all part of a “bigger and better Swedish Days,” Rush said. “I think we lots of great new attractions coupled with traditional favorites,” she said. For the full lineup, consult the Swedish Days brochure.
And it’s all as close as your smart phone.