Saturday, April 20, 2013

Iceland Days 2013

Iceland Days 1913


Iceland Days 1928

The Icelandic Association of Utah executive committee and directors decided to change the location of Iceland Day events that will be held on Saturday, June 22. 2013. For Iceland Days this year, the Iceland Days Festival will be at the Benjamin Park instead of at the Spanish Fork City Park.
The Benjamin Park is a lovely rural park. It is much quieter than the Spanish Fork City Park. It has a 100-person pavilion, playground, baseball diamond, room for children´s activities and display booths, horseshoe pits, and rest rooms. Because the Association has reserved this two-acre park, we won´t be competing with family gatherings, Lots of room!
The Benjamin Park is just 2 1/2 miles southwest of Spanish Fork, at 7300 South. It is easily accessible from I-15. The May newsletter will have directions about how to get there.

A special treat for Iceland Days 2013--a tour of 40 Icelanders will join us for the Friday evening and Saturday events. We get to rub shoulders with visiting Icelanders!
I was asked why they changed the location of Iceland Days away from Spanish Fork. My answer to that question is I really don’t know, however, this is not the first time that Iceland Days has not been held in Spanish Fork. 
From 1897 through 1914 Iceland Days were held in Spanish Fork by building a bowery next to other buildings. The bowery was built at different locations in Spanish Fork, the first being at the Icelandic Amusement Hall on the property of Goodman Johnson. In 1925 it was reported that about 400 Icelandic people gathered at Castilla, in Spanish Fork Canyon, in honor of the Iceland National Holiday. In 1927 the Icelanders celebrated at Geneva Resort. .  William J. Johnson was chairman of the Iceland National Holiday Celebration at Geneva Resort in 1928 where 600 Icelanders gathered together. In 1930 the attendance was down to 250 attending the Iceland National Holiday celebration at Geneva Resort with Wilford Johnson as general chairman.
Iceland Days for several years in the early 1930’s was held at Geneva Resort west of Provo on the banks of Utah Lake. It was located where the Geneva Steel Plant was later located; in fact the steel plant was given the name Geneva after the resort. It was a nice place and many years the place Iceland Days were held. There was a pavilion, a swimming pool, a store and some cabins for people to stay overnight. A bus went from Spanish Fork to Geneva; it left early in the morning on August 2nd each year and did not return until near midnight. Most program numbers were from local Icelandic talent, singing, dancing, readings, storytelling and other things. In the late afternoon was a bathing beauty contest. All Icelandic girls participated.
In 1931 there were 300 in attendance at the Iceland National Holiday at Geneva Resort. In 1935 attendance grew to 800 Icelanders in attendance at the Iceland National Holiday celebration at the Geneva Resort. In 1936 there were 1000 in attendance at Iceland Days which was held at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. Munda Geslison was Chairman. The 1937 celebration was also held at Vivian Park and Munda Geslison was again Chairman. In 1946 and 1947 the Iceland National Holiday wasc elebrated on August 2nd at Arrowhead Resort in Benjamin. 1948 and 1949 were under General Chairman Ken Runolfson at Arrowhead Resort on August 2nd. The 1950 celebration was held at Arrowhead Resort. 1954 Iceland Days was held at Saratoga Resort, west of Lehi, Utah. In 1955 the humble beginning of the Icelandic settlement in Utah was reenacted for more than 2000 descendants and friends in a colorful pageant at the Palmyra Stake Center. Iceland Days in 1956 was held at the Payson Park. In 1959 the Icelandic Association of Utah held its annual Iceland Day celebration at the Saratoga Resort south of Lehi. Iceland Days in 1961 was held on Saturday, August 5th at Saratoga Resort. In 1962 Iceland Days again held at Saratoga on Saturday, August 4th. Saturday, July 27, 1963 Iceland Day was held at Park Ro-Sha, in Springville. In 1980 the Icelandic Association annual reunion was held at the Canyon View Park, in Spanish Fork.


So… not to worry.

What is important is that you attend Iceland Days.

We have a lot of work ahead to equal the attendance at some of the Iceland Days of the past.

Bring a friend or two and I will to see you at the Benjamin Park on Saturday 22 June 2013.



Who is this a picture of?

2 comments:

Judy Wilson said...

This is fascinating history, David. I have known so little about our people in Utah. I always want to know more. Great article, and wonderful pictures. Judy Sólveig Wilson

John Johnson said...

The people in the photo are Gisele bajornson and Haldora Arnsdotter.