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Pictured sharing stories at Vesterheim over the weekend, are, seated: Nordic Fest founders Darrell Piece (left) and Jerry Aulwes, Decorah Jaycees who began planning in August 1966 for the first event, which took place in July 1967. Standing are Adrienne Coffeen (left) and Cam Forde, representing their mother, Nordic Fest founder, the late Phyllis Leseth. Not pictured are founders Harry Olson and Mike Dahly. Additional Nordic Fest founders were the late Dr. Marion Nelson and the late Gary Svenson. (Submitted photo)
Pictured sharing stories at Vesterheim over the weekend, are, seated: Nordic Fest founders Darrell Piece (left) and Jerry Aulwes, Decorah Jaycees who began planning in August 1966 for the first event, which took place in July 1967. Standing are Adrienne Coffeen (left) and Cam Forde, representing their mother, Nordic Fest founder, the late Phyllis Leseth. Not pictured are founders Harry Olson and Mike Dahly. Additional Nordic Fest founders were the late Dr. Marion Nelson and the late Gary Svenson. (Submitted photo)
The Nordic Fest Board is planning something spectacular to celebrate its 50th anniversary. 
At last month’s meeting, the Board approved a commemorative book, planned for publication in 2016, which will chronicle 50 years of the history and highlights of the Fest. 
According to project co-organizer Dawn Svenson Holland of Cedar Rapids, a group of Nordic Fest founders and their representatives gathered at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum over the weekend to begin sharing stories connected to the creation of the Fest.
Attending were Nordic Fest founders Darrell Pierce and Jerry Aulwes, two of the Decorah Jaycees who began planning the first event in August of 1966. 
Also attending were Svenson Holland, representing her father, the late Gary Svenson, and Adrienne Coffeen and Cam Forde, daughters of the late Phyllis Leseth. 

About the project
Svenson Holland is working with project co-organizer Erik Anundsen of Anundsen Publishing on the book. 
“It will review the fascinating story of how Nordic Fest got started with the help of the local Jaycees, the Luther College Women’s Club, Vesterheim and others,” said Svenson Holland. 
She said the story will share how the first Nordic Fest was the state and national Jaycee project of the year. It will also outline the untold story of the huge impact the Fest has had on helping nonprofits.

Stories sought
Svenson Holland said the book committee encourages community members to submit their own personal stories by emailing Nordicfest50@gmail.com.
“We know there are so many great stories out there, like couples who met at Nordic Fest,” she said. 
She added because not everyone may be in a position to buy the book, the committee has set up the blog Nordicfest50.blogspot.com, which will feature many of these stories. 
The books will be available on a pre-sale basis only, and the price and details will be released at a later time. 
More information will be released as soon as it becomes available.