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Alison Dwyer was in disbelief the first time that Disney called the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah looking for artifacts to be used as reference for a new movie they were working on.
The movie was 'Frozen” and though Dwyer was unable to help the first time Disney called, a second call turned out to be more fruitful.
'There definitely is excitement that Vesterheim has a connection to the movie ‘Frozen,' ” said Dwyer, the collections manager for Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. 'I hope that people do realize the Scandinavian connection with the movie.”
The movie is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale 'The Snow Queen” and is set in Norway.
The connection will be on display at the 48th annual Nordic Fest, held Thursday through Saturday in Decorah. As part of the three-day celebration, Dwyer will give presentation on 'When Disney Called” on Friday and Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
'Frozen” won't be the only pop culture reference on display this year as the event has the theme of 'May the Norsk be with You.”
'We've come up with a theme every year for the past 48 years,” said Nikki Brevig, the executive director of the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce. 'We like to figure out a theme that incorporates the traditions of the Scandinavian heritage, but also has a little fun with it too.”
This year's festival, which is free, includes numerous booths selling food, live entertainment, a grand parade, and events that help demonstrate Scandinavian culture such as a Norwegian rock throwing contest and a Lutefisk eating contest.
'For us, it's just a tremendous community event,” said Brevig, who said that they estimated the largest of the festivals has doubled the size of the 8,000 member community. 'I think it's just one of those great community festivals.”
Dwyer did not want to give away too many details of the 'Frozen” related presentations that she will be giving for Nordic Fest, but did say that there are currently 21 artifacts from the museum that are being featured at the Norway exhibit for the movie at Disney World's Epcot.
'I know the movie is wildly successful and any time I mention that Vesterheim has artifacts at Epcot, they (people) always say ‘The Epcot?'” said Dwyer, who is hoping that the movies popularity will increase interest in Scandinavian culture.
Dwyer said that it is hard to know how much the museum's artifacts influenced the movie, but that she was impressed by Disney's knowledge of what they were looking for when they called.
'You really have to be looking for it, but it's there,” said Dwyer of the artifacts influence on Frozen. She said items such as broaches, ale bowls, intricately designed Mangle Boards and chairs made from a single log known as Kubbestols are all being featured at Epcot. 'It's very exciting.”
Nordic Fest's opening ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m. on July 24.