HISTORY OF FLEKKEFEST
In 1978, during a meeting of the Civic and Commerce Association, a group of community leaders began a discussion about whether or not Elbow Lake would support the development of a community festival of some sort. They met at the office of the Grant County Herald, and tossed around ideas about what should be the theme and what should this new festival be called. The group included Dave Simpkins, Colin Robinson, Jon and Dana Schroeder.
“Flekkefest” was chosen to not only celebrate our Norwegian heritage but for the ties with the sister city, Flekkefjord, Norway. A committee was created and the group wisely began getting other organizations involved with planning Flekkefest events.
- Pastor Paul Petersen of Bethlehem Lutheran Church put the ministerial association to work organizing a Sunday morning community worship and volunteered to give the first Flekkefest sermon.
- Gene Wenstrom got the Sister City Association to sponsor Norwegian entertainment along with a parade float and a visit to Flekkefest by Flekkefjord’s mayor and city manager.
- Knute Westrom began prowling the streets to sell chances on a trip to Flekkefjord – a job he enjoyed for a number of years.
- Ole Steensland and the Lions Club organized units for the parade.
- George Shervey spruced up the museum and planned special events there.
- Rudy Larson and the American Legion husked and boiled piles of corn to feed everyone in town.
- The Grant County Hospital Auxiliary planned a pie and ice cream social.
- The Jaycee Women organized a kiddie parade.
- The elbow Lake Study Club planned an art fair.
- Mary Rapp and Dana Schroeder organized the Great Flekke Run, the 10K race that was sponsored by the Grant County Herald for a number of years.
- The Flekkefest Committee chose the festival’s first grand marshals, Dr. Lillian Parson and Lars Mohagen, both pillars of the community.
- Elbow Lake-Wendell Band Director Gordon Peterson prepared the school’s marching band for a wonderful performance leading the first Flekkefest parade.
- Community businesses opened their coffers to sponsor units in the parade and made Friday a festive day with their annual Crazy Days sales.
- Countless other volunteers put in many hours of work to pull the whole thing together. Volunteers like Dorothy Hermes and Millie Kastner and many others came back year after year to help make the weekend a success.
Since that time, many volunteers have made the first weekend in August memorable as Flekkefest has continued to grow in popularity. We hope the tradition continues and residents and visitors to Elbow Lake all have a chance to enjoy our favorite weekend – Flekkefest!