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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Children march in Kid's Day Parade
Children march in Kids' Day Parade, June 26, 1998. Photo: Sherri Weitl

Geneva Swedish Days (50th Anniversary)

The "Granddaddy of Illinois Festivals," this six-day festival dates back to 1949. Sponsored by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, it was originally begun as an event to promote and build business for Geneva at a time, post-WWII, when the economy was booming and Americans were ready to satisfy their consumer appetites. Today, nearly every member of the Geneva community participates in some way, either as a volunteer or participant in the festivities.

Held the last week in June, Geneva Swedish Days celebrates the heritage of Swedish immigrants who settled in the area. A Swedish smorgasbord and rosemaling show are hosted by the local church community, and traditional old world costumes are worn. Arts and crafts exhibits, a music competition, a carnival, a Kids' Day, a flea market, nightly entertainment on the Courthouse lawn, and a parade are part of the festivities. Merchants host special sales and in-store events, as well as sponsoring main festival programs and donating in-kind services. Twenty-one food stands throughout the downtown area tempt visitors with Swedish and American menus. The 1999 festival was the 50th anniversary of Swedish Days.

The event is documented in 30 photographs with descriptions; background text; promotional materials, including event programs, a notecard, poster, and yo-yo; and a print commissioned for the 50th anniversary celebration.

Originally submitted by: J. Dennis Hastert, Representative (14th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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