Leif Ericson Day Celebration Shooters - Cleveland October 9, 2012
The Scandinavian community of Cleveland, including those from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland gathered at the bust of Leif Ericson in front of Shooters in Cleveland's Flats. Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
Bust of Nordic Viking explorer Leif Ericson in Cleveland Ohio
According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland, tentatively identified with the Norse L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland in modern-day Canada.
In 1964 the United States Congress authorized and requested the president to proclaim October 9 of each year as "Leif Erikson Day". Each year local Scandinavians meet at the bust of the exploerer which is in front of Shooter's restaurant in the Flats. Here they toast Ericson and his maritime accomplishments with a drink of Aquavit, a 40 proof Scandinavian liqueur. Aquavit is said to get its special flavor from its trip to the Equator.
That's right; Aquavit is placed in barrels and put on a ship bound for Australia. It must pass the Equator and return to get the right flavor. All of the sloshing in the barrels on the long ocean trip makes the drink unique. It also has a distinctive flavor, partially because of spices such as caraway. Skol!
Aquavit toast to Leif Ericson led by Catherine Jorgensen McCutcheon
Many in the group wear Scandinavian outfits or other apparel showing their cultural pride.
Birgit Ihms says 'Leif Landed First!'
Catherine Jorgensen McCutcheon modeled a tradional Norwegian costume or bunad.
Catherine Jorgensen McCutcheon in her Norwegian bunad
In this short video, she and Vigdis Boge explain the lace, beading and other components of the authentic dress from Norway.
Verner Pedersen with Phil and Gloria Syverson
Phil Syverson and Marty Bergman
Bo and Glenda Carlsson
Shirley Fodar and Vigdis Boge told how it is said that Norwegians are the happiest people, those from Iceland the healthiest and the Danish are the most content. Shirley advises people to stop seeking the warm climates and to move up North.