The Freydis Joanna is an authentic replica of a Viking boat dating back to about 850 AD. It was built at the Viking Ship Museum in Denmark and purchased by the Danish Museum in Dickson, Alberta. The boat arrived onshore in Canada this spring and has been making its way across Canada to its final home. One of its stops was in Standard on Saturday, August 8. Way said the success of the event was gratifying.
“It was fabulous. I expected there would be many people but it surpassed all expectations. It was a huge event,” said Way. “The weather was perfect, the ship came in early, so it was all set up when people came for coffee.”
The festivities began with a coffee party in the afternoon, followed by an authentic Danish dinner in the evening. Both events were well attended. There was a silent auction that alone raised more than $4,000 for the Standard Community Hall Fund.
“Originally it wasn’t supposed to be a moneymaker, it was just to celebrate the ship coming in, but as it turned out it raised funds,” said Way.
She said the celebration took on more of a homecoming feel.
“There were people from all over. There was the older generation for the coffee party, and a whole new group for the dinner,” she said. “Lots of people who went to school here came back with their parents, and reunited with people in Standard.”
Way said there were even people from Denmark who were visiting family in Alberta who arrived to celebrate everything Danish on this day.
Elmer Jensen, considered the eldest resident in Standard was able to talk about the rich history of Standard at the dinner.
“That was really important to me that he had the opportunity, because this is what it was all about, the heritage of Standard,” said Way.
Egon Somer, son of Kresten and Karen Somer, the couple who donated the funds to purchase the boat, and volunteered to drive the boat from Halifax to its final destination, was joined by family for the celebration.
The journey of the Freydis Joanna is not over. It will visit Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton and Ponoka before it arrives in Dickson on August 22.