Monday, December 14, 2015

December 2015 Newsletter

The December 2015 newsletter is found here. The plain text version is below. To sign upfor the newsletter, please fill out this form.

** Farsælda Frón
Volume 17, Issue 2
December 2015

** From the President's desk

What a year we had.

You may be thinking, 'well it’s not over', but for The Icelandic Association of Chicago it is in terms of activities in 2015. We started out with a sold out Þorrablót, the biggest and best in many years, back at our old location at the Swedish American Museum. Everything was excellent, the food, entertainment, and the company of good people. This was the first time we invited a chef from Iceland who happened to be my brother Gauji who I hope you all had a chance to meet. We also had a record attendance to our Independence Day celebration at Promontory Point by the Lake just off South Shore Drive. We imported Icelandic hot dogs as before and everyone had a great time. We took part in Leif Erikson day, Scandinavian Day, and at the end of the summer it was the 10^th Greater Chicago Icelandic Open and the 2015 champions are Paul Henley and Martin Devaney. Our last event of the year was putting up the Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry followed by the Annual Open General Meeting at Snail Thai Cuisine. Once again, we had a record attendance and a very good time.

In between all of these activities we had several smaller gatherings and board meetings.

All in all this was a great year thanks to our members who worked hard and unselfishly, a list too long to thank everyone individually.
What does the future hold for us in 2016?
We take the tree down at the museum on the 10th of January at 1:30PM, everyone is invited. The Þorrablót is our highlight as all of you know and, like last time, it will be at the Swedish American Museum on Clark - the 19^th of March – Save the Date! We are again flying in Hemmi our musician, and a chef, Ari Hallgrímsson, who happens to be Lena‘s brother. Ari is a Master Chef and leads the culinary department of Verkmenntaskólinn Akureyri. This may turn out to be our biggest Þorrablót in the history of the organization as two groups of people from nearby states have requested access plus our ambassador Geir Haarde is likely to attend. Sales will open early in 2016. We plan to celebrate 17^th of June in style as years before and The 11^th Greater Chicago Icelandic Open will held Sunday August 28^th with the same format so Save The Date! I hope you will have a chance to participate in all or most of our events helping us make 2016 an even greater year than this one.

Merry Christmas – Gleðileg Jól.
Einar Steinsson
From the Editor

This December newsletter is packed with exciting information. First, it covers the decoration of the Icelandic Christmas tree at Christmas around the World. Then 2016 IAC events are presented including the always fantastic Thorrablot in March and Taking down the Christmas Tree at MSI in January. Several short articles are featured including an update on the status of IAC Scholarships, the announcement of direct Icelandair flights to O'Hare (Yes!), description of significant updates Marc Johnson made to our IAC website. Marc did a fantastic job and I encourage you to visit the website and give us feedback. I also encourage you to renew your membership online (or become a member if you are not already). The price has not gone up in years and is very reasonable ($10 Individual/Student and $20 Family).
In this newsletter you will also find an article by IAC member John H. Hofteig about the life of Joan Eyolfson Cadham, who was a prolific Canadian-Icelandic author and editor of Logberg Heimskringlan and passed away earlier this year. We hope you enjoy this newsletter and as always, please feel free to contact me if you have articles or topics you would like to share or see covered.
Stay warm and Happy Holidays!
Kolla Kristjansdottir Fass

Christmas Around the World 2015

The IAC has an annual tradition of decorating an Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry. This year this festive event occurred on Saturday November 8th. Thanks to all of you who helped at the tree tri mming. We are excited and extremely proud of our tree this year, which boasts some brand new ornaments and refurbished older ones. A big shout out to Guðrún Jónsson the new Chairperson of Christmas Tree Committee the master designer of the tree decorations and herself knitted the colorful Christmas balls. We hope you’ll find time this holiday season to visit Christmas Around the World and see for yourself. Save the Date: Thorrablot 2016 The 2016 Thorrablot will be held on March 19th at the Swedish museum! Read more about the details in the letter from the president above. Relive last years Thorrablot or if you did not attend, see the fantastic food and fun times that were had last year:


One if by Land, Two if by Sea, and Three if by Air: The Icelanders are coming! The Icelanders are coming!

Iconic, renowned American-colonial era silversmith, town crier, and American- Revolutionary War hero, Paul Revere [---He of “One if by land, two if by sea…”-fame---] sort of had it right, by 1776 standards, but were he to reappear in Chicago by the 16th of March, 2016, he would now have to light and hang three lanterns atop the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower and replace his incomplete “warning” with the more complete Glad-Tidings: “The Icelanders are coming!” After a nearly thirty year absence from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport [then operating seasonally under the moniker: Loftleiðir], Icelandair has announced year-round, frequent, almost daily, non- stop service from ORD, beginning 16-March-2016.

Besides the wonderful convenience this will afford us here in the Chicago area, it will have three additional benefits for our Icelandic Association of Chicago [IAC] and our friends: First, as reported in this same issue of the Frón, we will receive our fresh Thorra Food early, just in time, for our earlier- than-usual Saturday, the 19th of March, 2016 Þorrablót; Second, we will be able to welcome Icelandic dignitaries and Icelandair crew celebrating this inaugural Icelandair service; and Third, at a later-date to be announced, we in the Chicago area will be able to enjoy a four-day-long mini trade-fair and festival, the Taste of Iceland, sponsored by IcelandNaturally ( ; the Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce; and Iceland’s Trade Commissioner for North America, New York City-Consul General, Hlynur Guðjónsson [Update: Date set for Thursday to Sunday, the 17th-20th of March, 2016].

IcelandNaturally, the trade-group comprised of Icelandic and North American companies engaged in cross-border commerce, often stages these Tastes of Iceland in North American markets for which Icelandair has frequent year-round service and for which there is either an established or a potential market for Icelandic-North American commerce. Very recently, there was a Taste of Iceland in Seattle,WA and in Toronto, ON. Typically, these include bringing an Icelandic chef who collaborates with a local restaurant to have Icelandic-menu items available throughout the festival; representatives from several Iceland-related companies; free Icelandic musical offerings; and publicly-accessible programming highlighting relevant contemporary business, economic, and societal issues and trends in Iceland.

When Icelandair inaugurates new continuing, year-round service to a new market, if often affords opportunities for local Icelandic-American residents to collaborate with Icelandic companies looking for local talent to assist them in developing new business opportunities and enhancing established ventures. There may be ad-hoc, temporary, contract, or even permanent employment opportunities for Icelandic-American residents in the host city, almost everything “from A. to Z.,” including the obvious, e.g., English-Icelandic translation services. At our recent combined IAC AGM and open Board meeting, it was announced that the New York City-based Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce often receives inquiries from companies entering a new market for available local professional resources. Interest was expressed in exploring some sort of mechanism for preparing a list of our IAC members and friends who might be interested in making their talents known to these companies and then placing these individuals in contact with Icelandic companies in a professional manner, respecting confidentiality and privacy. Once a specific date is announced for a Taste of Iceland in Chicago, our IAC Board will be exploring options in this regard. Please submit comments via email to either our IAC President and local Honorary Icelandic Vice-Consul, Einar Steinsson, or the undersigned. J.H.H. ( or (

New and Improved IAC Website

Our responsive site now built and maintained in the popular and powerful content management system (CMS) Drupal has arrived! Check it out at The previous versions of our site built in static html met the basic needs of the IAC over the years having been mostly informational with limited interactivity for membership signup, and a few forms to register and pay for events. Moving to a CMS allows us the potential to add more dynamism to the site and offer our members a more interactive experience. Right now the new site:
  • has a modern (2015ish) look and feel
  • is responsive to different screen sizes from phones to large monitors
  • has roughly the same content/functionality that it had before.
  • In the coming months, we will be enlisting the feedback of IAC members and the board to see what more our site could and should be doing. The possibilities are numerous and include such options as:
  • membership logins that give access to restricted "members only" content,
  • site hosted member-maintained blogs to contribute to the site's content,
  • member-maintained, publically facing members directory of services,
  • private polls and forums,
  • etc...
  • What of this we actually do will depend on YOU (the members and board). Stay tuned...

    IAC Scholarship Program 2015-2016 Update:

    At the most-recent 8-Nov-2015 Icelandic Association of Chicago [IAC] combined AGM and open Board Meeting, the following information regarding our IAC Scholarship Program and Academic Liaison was discussed. For the seventh consecutive year, we received a very generous allotment of IcelandicGlacialWater, donated by the vendor, for our annual beverage sales at Scandinavian Day [6-Sep-2015], at Vasa Park, South Elgin, IL, which with the help of many much-appreciated volunteers, we sold, along with assorted soda pop, for our Scholarship Fund, which now stands at approximately USD $ 4,000.00. We still have some additional cases of IcelandicGlacialWater [twenty-four one-half-liter bottles per case at USD $ 24.00] available for sale, all proceeds of which will go into our Scholarship Fund. It was agreed that we would allocate up to approximately half of these funds for current applications for the following scholarship assistance: Up to two awards, each, at up to USD $ 750.00 to support any bona fide, Icelandic-related study at any relevant American, Canadian, or Icelandic cultural or academic institution OR participation in either the traditional six-week “total-Icelandic-immersion” program for young adults or the two-week-long similar program for mature adults or retirees [], for enrollment in 2016 or 2017. And up to two awards, each, at up to USD $ 375.00 to support any bona fide Icelandic-language study program [preference given to younger applicants], for enrollment in 2016 or 2017. Application forms, including the current IAC Scholarship Program Guidelines, will be posted on our website: and will be circulated to known potential applicants. Review of all applications and announcements and presentations of awards will be completed in time for our next Þorrablót [19-Mar-2016]. In this same issue of the Frón, our webmaster, Marc Johnson, is reporting on pending improvements to our IAC website, which will afford additional opportunities to enhance our reporting on our Scholarship Program and its history. At our meeting, there was renewed interest in exploring options for applying for IRS-recognized Charitable Tax-Deductible status [e.g., 501(c)] for our Scholarship Fund, a designation which might also be relevant for other IAC activities to the extent that they are relevant to Icelandic-related cultural and educational outreach activities of our Association.The current committee members of our IAC Scholarship Program remain: Tryggvi Emilsson, Haukur Guðmundsson, Sonja Johnson, Joni Shaw, and the undersigned. Anyone interested in working on or with our Committee and/or assisting with our fund-raising, currently primarily at the annual Scandinavian Day, is encouraged to liase with the undersigned. Inquires, suggestions, and applications are always welcome, by email to: ( or the undersigned [ ( ].

    The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories by the Late Joan Eyjolfson Cadham
    Joan Eyolfson Cadham, a prolific Canadian-Icelandic author, reporter, editor, and long-time active member of the Icelandic National League of North America [], died on the 28^th of October, 2015, at the age of seventy-five-years-young, literally at her writingdesk in her home in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, practicing her life-long craft to the end. During her final nearly six-year-long valiant struggle against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, she remained remarkably active, travelling, driving, and most of all, writing. She was widely known to active INL of NA participants, readers of Western Icelandic literature, and subscribers to the Lögberg-Heimskringla [], where she had been its Editor [2010 – 2014], with a keen interest in covering all matters Western Icelandic throughout Canada and the United States. She recently finished her final opus, The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories, which her estate has just now released. The preceding general information came from obituary remembrances which have been widely circulated by the INL of NA and by Stefan Jonasson, the current Editor of the Winnipeg, MB-based Lögberg-Heimskringla, North America’s oldest and longest continuously-published Icelandic newspaper. LH’s current homepage still features some of this material. The following specific information [“bracketed by quotation marks”], excerpted from a press release written by Shirley Byers, a long-time colleague and friend from nearby Kelvington, SK, is used with kind permission. Audrey Shepherd, another long-time colleague and friend from nearby Wynyard, SK, mentioned in the final paragraph, often provided Joan with desktop publishing assistance and was actively involved in this book’s production. “Celebrating Christmas with Joan: Joan Eyolfson Cadham loved Christmas. Early in 2015 she began gathering together her many, many stories and columns on that season and organizing them into a book. The finished product, The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories, is a tangible expression of that love. Christmas cards, Christmas trees, Christmas music — where did they come from? Why do we celebrate on December 25th? Why does the gift-giver, a part of every Christian culture’s traditions, arrive at different times in different countries? And when was Jesus really born?

    Besides answering these and other questions while serving up a wealth of Christmas history, traditions and folklore, this book is about the author’s own Christmases on the family farm near Foam Lake, in the town of Foam Lake, in Toronto, Montreal, and Cold Lake with a young family, back in Foam Lake with her husband, Jack Cadham, and finally on her own, shored up by the reminiscences of a lifetime of Christmases. And gifts from her Secret Santa: Twelve exquisite works of art, mailed anonymously to Joan over twelve years, including a nativity, a herb dryer, a key safe and more — each one clearly designed especially for its recipient, (Note the blonde Joan-like braids on more than one illustration), each one building the suspense, growing the legend which eventually captured the attention of the entire town and became the title story for this book.

    The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories has dozens of pictures, including the twelve gifts. And, like the true journalist she was, Joan made sure that there was a chapter for the folks who don’t love Christmas, or who maybe don’t love it this year. A Ryerson-trained journalist, Joan was the author of three books, The Prairie Does Flourish [2011], Red Right Returning [1998], and Bent but Not Broken [1992], (co-authored with Dennis Dwyer and David Marcel Letourneau). She was the editor of two more books and contributing author to several more. She was the editor of Port Hole, the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron magazine, and The Lögberg-Heimskringla [2010 - 2014], bi-weekly covering Icelandic news for North Americans. She produced countless features, editorials and columns, including Prairie Snapshots, a weekly broadcast column for CBC Radio, Regina, SK.

    This book may be ordered through Audrey Shepherd [ ( ], as it's not yet in bookstores this year. Probably next year, as Joan died so suddenly and her son (executor) has many things to do before he gets it into bookstores and Amazon. The approximate cost is $ 23.00 (tax incl.), plus shipping and handling.”
    Please liaise directly with Audrey regarding the exact USD $ cost, including shipping options. Sounds like a great Christmas stocking-stuffer!

    -Upcoming Events-
    Taking down the Christmas Tree
    Sunday January 10th 1:30pm
    Museum of Science and Industry
    Everyone is welcome

    Save the date: Thorrablot
    Saturday March 19th at 6pm
    Swedish American Museum
    More details to follow.

    Save the date: Icelandic Open
    August 28th
    More details to follow.

    About the Icelandic Association
    The purpose of our association is to ensure that the legacy of the Icelandic heritage will be preserved through cultural events, social gatherings and educational opportunities. We always welcome new members and look forward to hearing from you. - More at: Forward to a Friend View our blog ( Visit on Facebook (


    Copyright © All rights reserved.


    Sunday, June 14, 2015

    June 2015 Newsletter

    The June 2015 newsletter is found here. The plain text version is below. To sign up for the newsletter, please fill out this form.

    ** Farsælda Frón
    Volume 17, Issue 1 June 2015

    ** From the President's desk
    Gleðilegt Sumar – Happy Summer

    The summer in Iceland has yet to arrive and we can sense how friends and family are getting frustrated with the weather. June 2nd in Akureyri started with 32F and some snow. We send warm wishes over the ocean and hope things will improve fast as I know many in our community are visiting Iceland this summer. We have welcomed some new members who have recently moved to the Chicago area and joined our association but we are also saying farewell to long standing members and good friends, Anna Jóels and Tom Fox, who are moving to Iceland. We will miss them dearly and wish them all the best. 23rd of May we had a successful open board meeting at the restaurant Tre Kronor who did the catering for our Þorrablót. The meeting was well attended and we covered wide variety of topics. We talked about the BIG news, the direct flight to Chicago from Iceland, recently announced by Icelandair. The meeting approved moving the Þorrablót 2016 from February to March if we could get seats on the first flight, March 16th, for musician and chef. I am happy to report that I was successful at securing spots on the plane and I am excited to confirm a date for Þorrablót 2016, for the 19th of March, at the Swedish American Museum. Maybe we will have guests from Iceland attending with the new direct flight in place. I hope to see many of you at our Independence Day picnic June 13th at the Promontory
    Point. The hotdogs have arrived from Iceland! Einar Steinsson President

    From the Editor
    Summer weather is finally here in Chicago! As we get used to the hot, humid weather again, you may have heard about the massive strikes going on in Iceland. Most industries were affected. Notably, veterinarians were on strike resulting in a shortage of meat in grocery stores and healthcare was hit hard with reports of many healthcare professionals looking into jobs in Scandinavia. On a lighter note, over 1100 people are reportedly gathering on June 13th to participate in a 'Free the nipple" event, from the recently viral movement working towards gender equality.

    This newsletter includes information about exciting upcoming events including the Icelandic Independence Day celebration this Saturday. It also contains a call for applications for Scholarships from IAC to learn Icelandic and an article about the Icelandic National League (INL) of North America meeting in Minneapolis that two of our members attended.

    Gledilegan 17da juni! Happy June 17th!

    Kolla Kristjansdottir Fass Editor

    -Upcoming Events-
    Iceland's Independence Day, Saturday June 13th 2pm, Promontory Park, Join us for delicious Icelandic hot dogs! Please RSVP.

    Midsommar Celebration, Saturday June 20th Vasa Park, Elgin, Opens at 3:30PM, Potluck Dinner begins at 6PM

    Save the date: Icelandic Open, August 30th, Hilldale Golf Club in Hoffman Estate, More details to follow.

    Scandinavian Day, September 13th 10AM-6PM, Vasa Park, Elgin


    Thorrablot 2015

    The Thorrablot was held on February 21st at the Swedish museum and was a great success! For pictures see:

    Iceland's Independence Day "17da Júni" Icelandic Hot Dogs! All members are invited to celebrate our Independence Day at Promontory Point,locally known as ‘The Point’. Please join us for a picnic style festival and a fun afternoon by the Lake. The IAC will treat everyone to hot dogs, pylsa, from Iceland, Icelandic style – eina með öllu – which includes dried fried onion and remolade! What makes Icelandic hot dogs unique and oh so good, is that they’re made from lamb meat. Please note that other than the hot dogs, the event is a BYO, so please bring drinks, sides, salads, sweets, or other plates you'd like to eat or share. Remember to bring picnic gear: blankets, lawn chairs, sunscreen, umbrellas...And, if anyone owns flags or other 17th of June decorations, please bring it with you – takk! We’re excited to celebrate 17di júní on the 13th of June and look forward to see you at 2 PM. A beach with life guards is close by for those who want to bring swim suits and go for a dive in the lake. Sign up by e-mailing Einar or call 773-489-4621. If the weather is questionable we will move the celebration to Lena and Einar’s house on Rockwell. Thus, it’s important you sign up so we can alert you of a different location.

    Directions and Parking: The Point is off 55th Street, East of Lake Shore Drive (LSD). Use 5500 S Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637 for driving directions (Google Maps, etc.). You’ll find a metered parking lot on 55th street,by Bar Louie, or you may find free street parking. The walk to the Point takes about 6 minutes through a tunnel, which passes under Lake Shore Drive at the east end of 55th street. Upon emerging from the tunnel you’ll see a statue and a fountain. Turn right and walk south until you see our flag. We’ll try to find a spot as close to the field house as possible. For more information, photos, and the history of the Promontory Point, check out:

    Save the date: Icelandic Open - August 30th Registration for The Icelandic Open starts soon. It will be the same place, Hilldale Golf Club in Hoffman Estate, and same price, $35. We have sold out the last four years! Trip to Iceland for a ‘hole in one’ and lots of other goodies.

    Midsommar Celebration - June 20th 2015 Once again, this event will occur in the form of a family picnic. The park will open on Saturday June 20th at 3:30 PM. A picnic dinner will begin at 6:00 PM. Meat will be furnished by Vasa Park aka Scandinavian Park in Elgin and each family is asked to bring a dish to pass. Activities will include the traditional Maypole raising, dancing, activities and crafts for children and will culminate with the bonfire lighting, traditional toast (Brenivin) and music. A donation of $5.00 per adult is requested, but is free for Scandinavian Park members with a 2015 membership card. It is also free for children 12 and under and parking is free. The park has a policy of no pets. Reservations are required by June 17, 2015 (so that they can be sure there is enough beef for all)Call 630-665-7866 or email For further information see and

    Scandinavian Day - September 13th "Enjoy a late summer day with traditional food, crafts, gifts and entertainment representing the five Nordic Cultures as we celebrate the 62nd year of Vasa Park in South Elgin Illinois Honor the founders for the vision, labors and resources that built and preserved this beautiful Fox River Valley venue. Scandinavian Day at Vasa Park is enjoyed by the thousands who return each year to this tradition on the Sunday after Labor Day (September 13th from 10AM-6PM). A great day of food , fellowship and fun bringing together friends and family with pride for 36 years. Select your favorites,and feast on a variety of Scandinavian and American food. Visit the many craft and gift vendors for that special memory of the five Nordic countries. Bring the family for a full day of fun and enjoy the tradition of music, dance and a relaxed day in the park." Once again, we ask for your help in selling our wonderful Icelandic Glacial Water during the day, Sunday September 13th. We are grateful to Icelandic Glacial Water for donating many cases to benefit our Scholarship Fund. We are the only vendor of water at the park on Scandinavian Day and we sold out last year. And it was good to be among friends enjoying the spirit of the occasion. For further information see

    Call for Applications: Icelandic Association of Chicago Scholarship Program Before announcing current Icelandic Association of Chicago [IAC] Scholarship Program opportunities, kudos are appropriate for the following three individuals who made unexpected and much-appreciated gifts at our þorrablót-2015, which were immediately auctioned-off for benefit of our IAC Scholarship Fund: Dr. Leifur Bjornson, Melissa Findley-Thompson, and our IAC President and Honorary Icelandic Vice-Consul in Chicago, Einar Steinsson. Leifur donated a 1975-vintage bottle of Brennivin. Its purchaser, Melissa, instead of taking it home for preservation and aging for another forty years or personally enjoying same with friends and family, immediately auctioned off shots --- the entire bottle! Einar donated one of his signature-ties with the Icelandic flag prominently displayed. The ensuing enthusiastic bidding netted approximately $300.00 which brings our current IAC Scholarship Fund balance to just under $4,000.00 after having awarded four stipends in the past two years. Thank you to all who supported this novel addition to our funding! At our most recent open IAC Board Meeting on Saturday, 23-May-2015, at Tre Kronor, the Swedish Bistro which catered our recent þorrablót, it was agreed that the following stipends will be available: Up to two [2] awards at USD $ 375.00 to support any bonafide Icelandic-language study [course work, on-line, language-camp, etc.] and up to two [2] awards at USD $ 750.00 to support any bonafide Icelandic-related studies under the auspices of any recognized cultural or academic institution in the United States, Canada, or Iceland OR participation in either the traditional six-week total Icelandic-immersion Snorri program for young adults [approximately 18 to 30 years of age] or the more recent similar two-week Snorri-Plus program for mature adults or retirees. Further details, including guidelines and application forms, will be posted on our IAC website: As of going-to-press-time, we currently have at least two promising pending applications and more applications are very much welcome! Currently, most of our IAC Scholarship funding comes from beverage sales [assorted soda-pop and donated IcelandicGlacialWater] at Vasa Park [South Elgin, IL] during Scandinavian Day and Mid-Sommar Day under the auspices of the Park’s trustee, The Not-for-Profit 501(c) Scandinavian Park, Inc., on whose Board our IAC is represented by Joni Shaw and as alternates, Larry O. Shaw and John H. Hofteig. Please see Joni’s article above on both of these events, inviting all to come and enjoy Vasa Park, celebrate Scandinavian Heritage, purchase IcelandicGlacialWater, and perhaps even help us at our booth on Saturday afternoon, 20-June-2015, and nearly all-day on Sunday, 13-September-2015.

    John H. Hofteig

    A Report from the INLofNA Convention The 96th Annual Convention was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota May 14-17, 2015 at the Hilton MSP Airport/Mall of America Hotel. The theme of the convention was "Icelandic Connections: The Sagas Continue". John Hofteig and I, Joni Shaw, were attendees from Chicago. We were reminded of the journeys our ancestors made in the hope of starting a new life in a new land. How their children and the following generations spread across the North American continent and the stories have continued. The programs presented highlighted some of those families and their stories. We met old friends and made new ones - relatives? As we say - "What is more joyful than a gathering of good friends". Honored guests were: Former President Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Iceland's Ambassador to the Us, Geir Harde and Canada's Ambassador, Sturla Sigurjonsson. The keynote speaker for the Saturday evening banquet was Madame Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Former President of Iceland and current UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador of Languages of the World - as she was introduced in the program. Friday was a full day with many interesting sessions. It was divided into three time divisions, each containing sessions regarding Research, Education, Heritage and a Workshop. My cousin, Alicyn Goodman, and I, Joni Shaw, participated in the second session of Heritage topics, presenting information regarding the INLofNA International Visits Program (Sharing Talents with Clubs Here and Across the Ocean). This year, in October, North America will be hosting a very prominent man in fisheries through this program - Dr Grimur Valdimarsson, an international expert on world fisheries. A man who has, worldwide, made significant advances in his area of expertise. There were about 150 in attendance. Saturday brought us more sessions, the AGM and the Banquet with the delightful Madame Vigdis and dancing. Next year the Convention will be held in Vancouver, Canada. For further information see

    About the Icelandic Association The purpose of our association is to ensure that the legacy of the Icelandic heritage will be preserved through cultural events, social gatherings and educational opportunities. We always welcome new members and look forward to hearing from you. - More at: View our blog ( Visit on Facebook (




    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    December 2014

    Here is a link to the newsletter. The plain text version is found below:
     ** Farsælda Frón
    Volume No. 16 Issue No.4 December 2014 ** 

    From the President


    Farwell 2014 – Welcome 2015 In 2010 I wrote that everything is happening so fast that 2015 would soon be around the corner. Well, guess what, it is here. It is a good thing; every year we celebrate another birthday is an accomplishment. I am the bearer of more good news. It was just announced that Costco will open a store in Iceland in 2015. This is causing a debate among Icelanders who some go so far as to warn that imported meet can shorten the longevity in Iceland. We shall see. The Icelandic Association had a fantastic year on all fronts; a record attendance to all events and more new members than ever before. We updated some of the decorations for our Christmas Tree as reported earlier, which is a task we will keep working on. We polled the membership with a Þorrablót survey and got some great feedback which we will use in 2015. Set your calendar for taking down the Tree Sunday, January 4^th at 4 pm and to celebrate the ancient god, Þór, at Þorrablót, February 21st. I hope you are looking forward to a prosperous 2015 and I wish you and your families Happy Holidays and Gleðileg Jól og Farsælt Komandi Ár. Einar Steinsson President


    From the Editor

    The IAC has once again had a eventful year. We look forward to 2015 events including Þorrablot, Icelandic Open Golf event, 17da Juni Independence Celebration, Tree trimming and cultural events as they present themselves. If you have not already taken part in these events, I encourage you to come and give it a try. We promise not to bite! This newsletter includes information and details about upcoming and past events. It also features an article from one of our IAC members, Kenneth, who visited Iceland recently and gives us a synopsis of his trip including some beautiful pictures. As I prepare to go "home" to Iceland for the holidays I reminisce about growing up in Iceland and loving this dark yet light (read: holiday lights), joyous time of the year.I hope your holidays are filled with light, joy and laughter. Kolla Kristjansdottir Fass ( Editor



    Þorrablót survey and Raffle Thank you to everyone who participated in the Þorrablót survey. It was emailed to the IAC mailing list containing current and past members and 40 responses were received. The results were presented at the General Meeting in November followed by the raffle drawing. Axel Nielsen was the lucky winner of a ticket to the 2015 IAC Þorrablót. Congratulations Axel! Save the Date - Þorrablót 2015 Þorrablót 2015 will be held February 21st. More detailes to follow soon. The Þorra Committee Christmas around the World!

    The IAC has an annual tradition of decorating an Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry. This year this festive event occurred on Saturday November 8^th. Thanks to all of you who helped at the tree trimming. We are excited and extremely proud of our tree this year, which boasts some brand new ornaments and refurbished older ones. We met prior to the event and fixed up the farm and the church – Thanks Oli and Pam for hosting and Oli, Larry, Karl, Miguel and myself for doing the work. A big shout out to Guðrún Jónsson the new Chairperson of Christmas Tree Committee who, in addition to starching and re-stringing the snow flakes, came up with and executed some great ideas for new decorations and herself knitted colorful Christmas balls. We hope you’ll find time this holiday season to visit Christmas Around the World and see for yourself. Scandinavian Day A huge "thank you" to all who came out in September to celebrate Scandinavian Day in support of the Icelandic community and our Scholarship Fund. It was a perfect day at Vasa Park in Elgin. Those handsome Olafsson men, Oli, Luke, Will and Bjorn, proudly carried the Icelandic flag in the opening ceremonies. Lena sang our National Anthem so beautifully, along with Joni. Pam Olafsson was our professional photographer. John and Larry were the backbone of our effort. It was a magnificently successful event on this sunny Sunday. All worked in our booth selling Icelandic Glacial water and assorted pop we had the most successful sales day in our history. We had more water to sell this year than others and we actually sold out, whereas we have taken home many cases in years past. And, an Icelandic vendor joined the celebration this year - Leda Herman - with her Scandi-mania. Wonderful to have Leda and her daughter. They were also in Mountain this year at the Deuce of August. Entertainment at the park included Swedish recording artist Peter Nordberg, Nordic Folk Dancers of Chicago, Chicago Spelmanslag, Leikarringen Heimhug Norwegian Folk Dancers of Chicago, Ole and Sven, folk dancing classes, pony rides, a Scandinavian Zoo, a wonderful Living History Timeline and the wildly popular closing act - the ABBA Salute. Attendance at the event is growing every year and we are happy to be a part of this celebration of our heritages. Icelandic Glacial Water is the exclusive vendor of water and we are very appreciative that we have the support of the Scandinavian community of Vasa Park. Joni Shaw OTHER NEWS Renew your IAC Membership now It is time to renew your IAC Membership. Membership is the same as last year, only $10 per student/individual or $20 per family. There are two ways pay/apply for membership: Online ( or by downloading this document ( and sending it to Lawrence O. Shaw (address on form). Entertainers or speakers needed in January or February Hi – I am the Community Life Director at Cedarlake Village in Plainfield,IL, and independent home for senior citizens. We would like to highlight Iceland for the month of January or February. Do you have entertainers or speakers you could recommend? What is the fee for performances/speakers. Thanks so much. Mary Nebor Community Life Coordinator 14800 S. Van Dyke Rd. Plainfield, IL 60544 P: (815) 254-3564 F: (815) 439-9651

    Two Day Whirlwind Across South Iceland by Kenneth Beckwith Benavides

    I spent my first night with a dog in a gas station. Actually, it was great. It's so easy to get into a mindless routine; Iceland is exactly the private piece of microcosm I needed to get in touch with my core. Skógafoss in the morning. Sorry, Reykjavík I didn't come for the civilization. Onto Dyrhólæy. First, Mr. Drunk man at three in the morning, "can you please tell me how to get gas?" He has no idea. Oh well. Dyrhólæy, my first encounter with black lava rock and the ocean in the daytime. Sheep everywhere, horses too. An otherworldy surreal landscape; heaven and hell. Dyrhólæy was great, but Reynisfjall was like a dream. Spires, no, daggers spiralling up out of the ocean; Maleficent's mountain. Iceland is the only place wonder and weird add up to make cool. Black sand, white ocean froth, basalt columns. A Sigur Rós music video -- no, better, another world. Would I want to stay here? I don't know about the dark winters. Can a mind survive something like that in one piece? At Skaftafell I met the forest sanctuary, Svartafoss. She was magnifecent. And Skeiðaràrasandur a geologic wet dream. Finally, Jökulsárlon; gems of diamond white atop coal pitch. Translation please? Where the mountain glaciers go to meet with the sea and become saltwater. As they transform they tinkle like bells into smaller and smaller renditions down a river to the surf. The glacier that manage to survive litter the shore amid maroon kelp and the occasional driftwood and diamond ice masses. A sight to behold, walk on beach sand stones, return with a lost part of your soul. My adventure, in the remote reaches of Iceland, crafted by human minds and human hands. A world where the winds and sea are king and go to meet with fire, crash, and wonder the mind, wonder the soul--so beautiful. Þakka þér fyrir að Icelandic Association of Chicago og Lena Hallgrímsdóttir for preparing me fyrir the adventure!

    -Upcoming Events- Save the Date!IAC Þorrablót 2015 February 21st. More details to follow. The Þorra committee Taking down the Christmas Tree Sunday January 4th at 4:00pm Join us for taking down the Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry. Contact Lena to RSVP.

    About the Icelandic Association The purpose of our association is to ensure that the legacy of the Icelandic heritage will be preserved through cultural events, social gatherings and educational opportunities. We always welcome new members and look forward to hearing from you. - More at: View our blog ( Visit on Facebook ( ===================================================