#TBT to 50 years of Midsommarfest

We’ve got a lot to celebrate this year, with the 50th anniversary of the naming of our neighborhood AND the 50th anniversary of Midsommarfest! In honor of Throwback Thursday, we’re going to take you on a visual tour of our Midsommarfest photo archives.

Midsommarfest, late 1960s

When it began in 1965, Midsommarfest was little more than an art fair and celebration of Swedish culture, held in the Thybony parking lot.

Midsommarfest 1969

There was also a Miss Andersonville pageant, the winner of which represented Andersonville at various other functions during the year. The “Clean Up Time” poncho that you see referred to a once-important tradition in Andersonville: At 10:00am each morning, merchants along Clark Street would sweep the sidewalks in front of their stores. The clean-up time was triggered by the ringing of a bell.

Midsommarfest 1975

By the mid-1970s, Midsommarfest had grown large enough to close down a small part of the street. A stage was set up on Berwyn, near First Free Church.

Midsommarfest 1986

By the mid-80s, Clark Street was shut down, with a stage near Catalpa (see the White Hen Pantry in the background, now a 7-Eleven). The Miss Andersonville Pageant was still going strong, and children’s activities like a petting zoo had been added.

Midsommarfest 1994

In 1994, we found the first picture of “Surf Foto” (still going strong 21 years later), plus photos of the pet parade (this year it will be re-christened “Miss Furry Andersonville”).

Midsommarfest 2004 (1)

Ten years later, we see a festival much like we’re used to seeing now, packed with crowds when the weather is nice, with bands to get you rocking on the stages in the evening. You’ll note that, at this point, Midsommarfest stretches from Foster on the south, to Balmoral on the north. In 2007, the festival was extended north to Rascher, followed by an extension all the way to Catalpa (our current footprint) in 2009.

Midsommarfest 2014

Pictures from last year’s Midsommarfest (2014) show how this event has really come full circle, as a celebration of our neighborhood, our heritage, and our diversity. We still dance around the Maypole and our range of activities for children and families has never been bigger. We still love rocking out to 16 Candles, but we’ve also made room for emerging talent and a range of musical styles. This year, we’re even resurrecting the Miss Andersonville Pageant as a way to raise money for local charities (more on this next week).

In the next few weeks leading up to Midsommarfest, we’ll be posting more information about the great plans we have in store to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We hope you’ll join us on June 12, 13 & 14! Learn more about Midsommarfest 2015.