Icelandic heritage celebrated with community picnic July 24

Published on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 by Rob Olason

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Blaine Mayor Bonnie Onyon has declared July 24 “Icelandic Heritage Day,” and the Blaine Icelandic Heritage Society (BIHS) will be having a picnic at Peace Arch State Park to celebrate.

On this day, local Icelandic descendants will make their annual pilgrimage to Peace Arch State Park to celebrate their ancestral heritage and get reacquainted with old family and friends. This ritual has been going on with few interruptions since the early days of Blaine’s existence.

In the late 19th century, scores of Icelandic immigrants made their way to North America, and by the early 1900s, a large contingent of Icelanders called Blaine their new home.

BIHS revived the annual picnic in 2007 and has held it every summer since. Then in recent years, local Icelandic descendant families have turned it into an opportunity for impromptu family reunions, and several families are doing so again this year.

All Icelandic descendants are invited to bring a picnic lunch, their Icelandic heritage and contribute to the celebration, which takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at the American Kitchen at Peace Arch State Park. Some traditional Icelandic foods will be available to sample, and donations are gratefully accepted to help defray the rental costs at the park.

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