Celebrating Heritage

Spring Grove is the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota. And with a large population of Norwegian-Americans living here, so come the celebrations of Norwegian traditions and holidays. 

Syttende Mai (literally interpreted means the Seventeenth of May), celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day each year in May. This is the annual community celebration with a variety of traditional events and heritage favorites. From Norwegian foods and artisans to music, a parade and kids activities, this is one celebration you won’t want to miss.

UffDa Fest is another family-friendly celebration held to celebrate the changing seasons each fall. One will find a farmers market, Norwegian goodies, genealogy events and more at this quirky and fun autumn get-together.

Spring Grove hosts the decennial Homecoming Celebration  every ten years instead of Syttende Mai. The 5-day event is a time for  Spring Grove alumni and friends come together to catch up, have fun and spend time exploring and reconnecting with the community. Heritage favorites that are standard fare at Syttende Mai will be part of a larger schedule of events that are held in June. The 2017 Homecoming Celebration is set for Jun 21-25.

Researching Roots

Spring Grove is also home to Sons of Norway, Valheim Lodge 1-364. The group hosts Norwegian craft and food demonstrations throughout the year in addition to supporting the Syttende Mai and Giants of the Earth organizations with authentic Norwegian fare.

The Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, incorporated in 2009 as a non-profit educational institution, is dedicated to honoring, preserving, and interpreting the history and heritage of the people from Spring Grove’s Norwegian Ridge in southeastern Minnesota. Drawing on a rich cultural history, the Center records and reflects the achievements of indigenous peoples and immigrants to the Spring Grove area. The Center draws upon varied resources, while also providing a gathering place and a sense of community and identity to its public.  While there is strong focus on the Norwegian heritage, Giants is interested in helping anyone discover their genetic connections to those in and around Spring Grove, Minnesota.

The organization offers classes and workshops to entertain, educate and encourage finding out more about those from whence we came.

To find out more, visit www.springgrovemnheritagecenter.org

Language Camp

Our language camp is set in scenic Spring Grove, the first Norwegian Settlement in Minnesota. Students will learn basic Norwegian language skills and discover Norway through geography, history and experiences. 

In collaboration with Spring Grove Public School, iPads will be used to assist with the learning. Some activities takes us on a tour in the immediate areas in and around our beautiful town. Students will experience hot homemade traditional Norwegian meals and will make new friends in a nurturing and supportive setting. 

Because we really want our students to have the best time possible, they will have a wide selection of hands-on activities to enjoy. Some of the activities we focus on will be: Traditional Norsk Baking, Music, Hand Crafts, Our Surroundings, Syttende Mai Parade, Modern and Ancient Vikings Sports.

For more information, please visit www.norwegianridge.org

A brief history

One hundred and fifty years ago, settlers and immigrants began to make their way to a special place in the Minnesota Territory. Spring Grove was the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota.

Not far from the Mississippi River in the south-eastern portion of the new land they found a spring of cool fresh water nestled in a grove of beautiful hardwood trees atop a broad scenic limestone ridge. Spring Grove, Minnesota became a reality.

What attracted those first settlers you can still find here today. Rich bountiful land, gorgeous scenery, a healthy climate and the opportunity to find your own place amongst it. They added hard work, friendship and a willingness to help one another. That is what makes Spring Grove a special place.