Saturday, May 25, 2002

May 2002



Many Icelanders think the summer is the best time of the year and there is some truth to that. The summer is a big deal in a country that has so many months of darkness, so many snowstorms, and so many people hit by the winter blues. We really love the sun, the heat, and swimming in warm waters. This we can do in Chicago and to some extent get more sun than needed, more heat we can tolerate, and more Lake than we can take.

We are not going swimming for the 17th of June celebration… but we might get some sun and things might get hot! After all we are going to barbeque!! I hope all of you will join us on the 15th of June for an independence picnic in Cantigny Park.

11th of May the IAC had a board meeting, which turned out to be very successful. Many people showed up and some new members. We reviewed the Þorrablót, set the date for the 2003 Þorrablót, and talked about other things that you can read about in this newsletter. We thanked Sóley Runólfsdóttir for a job well done, but she has served on the board for the last four years. Sóley is a dear friend and we wish her luck in Nebraska. To replace Sóley as our secretary we elected Gunnar Ólaf Hanson – welcome on board Gunnar.

Scandinavian Day will be held in September and we are going to make that the best participation by our organization so far. We have set the wheels in motion - look for more exciting new about this event in the next newsletter.

Have a fantastic summer and please do not hesitate to contact us with ideas, news, and things that can improve our organization – especially, more new members!

Gleðilegt sumar!

Einar Steinsson, President

From the Editor

“Þátttaka” is the Icelandic word for participation, the only word I know with triple t’s (please, e-mail me if you know of any other ones). It is made from the words to “taka þátt” or to “take part”. Whether it is an individual, organization or a nation, it is important to participate, to be seen and not be isolated. That is one of the reasons Iceland, a small nation of 300,000 people participates in the Olympics, for example. They do not expect to win a medal but the act of participating is the main goal, in addition to bringing more competing experience to our athletes. Most of the time, participation enriches the individual or the organization and the participants feel they are contributing to the event. After the Scandinavian Day last fall, I have had mixed feelings, to say the least, regarding our participation in this particular event. I thought we would be representing a distinct group of people in Chicago, introducing our food, our flag and our heritage, at least making us visible. However, my experience was quite on the contrary. At last year’s Scandinavian Day, our association was placed in a booth with some independent entrepreneurs of Swedish descent, whose main goal is to make money from selling Swedish-American pancakes. We had brought some Icelandic food to sell and were able to sign up few people for the association but our main job was to direct people to the pancakes in the other corner of the booth. It was a gloomy day with rain and mud so maybe my view is skewed, but as a proud member of the Icelandic community here in Chicagoland, I felt our participation in the Scandinavian Day to be both humiliating and degrading. Despite being called “Scandinavian Day” this event has evolved into something else than a meeting of Scandinavians but is more like a commercial event where people sell goods and make profit (there was even a Volvo dealership in the park). Now, I do not appose to people earning an honest buck but since the Icelandic Association has not been a for-profit-organization, I am not sure we have been in the park on the right terms. Therefore, I suggest that if we are to continue to participate in this event, we need to make ourselves more visible, put up signs and have more of a presence. We might consider contacting various Icelandic export companies (and their U.S. importing counterparts) to see if they have promotional goods to offer for sale—e.g., fish products, wool products, water, etc. We will need to be in a separate booth maybe with posters of Iceland and various food samples for people to taste. We do not have to sell anything but just be more visible and more distinct. The bottom line is that I do not think this is an event where participation is the key since we are barely visible and nobody cares less whether we are there or not. And if we do not feel we can be there in full force, I don’t think we should be there at all.

Þorrablót 2002 and 2003

This year the attendance was quite good, with 70 people paying admission. Nevertheless, we again lost some money, though somewhat less than in the last two years (see next page). Many were pleased to be back in familiar surroundings, in the Swedish-American Musuem. There were some complaints about how inadequate the sound system was and also the lack of a real dance band. But, Hundur í óskilum were undeniable entertaining.

The date for the next Þorrablót is set for February 22, 2003. Many favor the idea to have it every other year in the suburbs alternating with the Museum downtown. We are currently looking for venue for next year´s Þorrablót and will have final decision regarding location by the end of September.

New Secretary

We were sad to hear that Sóley has moved to Nebraska, leaving her post as secretary vacant. Gunnar Ólafur Hansson, a newcomer to the Chicago society, agreed to take her place on the board as the next secretary. Welcome, Gunnar

Mexican-Icelandic Christmas?

Our decorations for the ‘Christmas Around The World’ exhibition need to be repaired or touched up. A crafts meeting has been scheduled for 11:00 am on Saturday, September. Remember, God loves a volunteer! So, mark the date and get early in on the Christmas spirit. There will be plenty of food, since we plan to have this as a potluck lunch on a Mexican theme. Please, e-mail Stella Solis if you want to participate

Thanks to Þorrablót Donors!

The Association would like to thank everyone who donated their time and effort to the Þorrablót, helping to make it the success it was. Many of you donated prizes in the raffle, food and beverages. We thank you as well.