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Hostfest brings a taste of Scandinavia to Bay Ridge

BAY RIDGE — Fall was in the air as the Scandinavian East Coast Museum held its annual Hostfest, or autumn festival on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge.

Bay Ridge Conservancy and Scandinavian East Coast Museum President Victoria Hofmo said the event is a celebration of all things Scandinavian and helps introduce Scandinavian customs and culture to the community.

“This event always has nice people and delicious food including Norwegian meatballs, mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese and beet salad,” Hofmo told this paper.

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A community activist, Hofmo grew up in Bay Ridge and wants to preserve the neighborhood’s historic Scandinavian roots.

ebrooklyn media/Photos by Arthur De Gaeta
Guests check out the raffle baskets at Hostfest.

“We try to take different traditions from various Scandinavian countries for the fall harvest including foods and games,” said Hofmo.

“For example, in Sweden they have an apple festival in the fall so we have a variety of apple dishes for dessert. Another traditional thing to have is Norwegian cookies. Because it’s the season for hunting, we have a bow and arrow contest and we play pin the tail on the moose,” added Hofmo.

Diana Hetteix won first place in the bow and arrow contest, hitting her target on the first try. She received a framed picture of an arts and crafts cat.

The event also included a Scandinavian style lunch featuring a variety of Nordic fare and desserts.

Solveig Simonsen McLoughlin explained the history behind a unique dessert that was offered. “It’s a Norwegian tradition around the holidays that we make Krumkake,” said McLoughlin. “It’s whipped cream with lingonberry, a popular tart type of Norwegian jelly that’s mixed in with the cream.” She explained that a lingonberry was very similar to a cranberry, but smaller and grown on a vine.

Norwegian dessert favorite made with whipped cream and lingonberry.

In the afternoon, there was a Lapskaus auction featuring Thanksgiving-themed baskets and prizes, followed by entertainer Bob Carlsen, who was dressed in a dinosaur costume as part of his routine.

Bethlehem Lutheran Church is located on the corner of Ovington and Fourth avenues.

Bob Carlsen entertains guests at Scandinavian Hostfest.

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