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Swedish music, art featured in Stockholm

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Stockholm will celebrate its Swedish heritage June 26 with a Midsommar Festival complete with dance, art, traditional games and foods, and an evening concert of Scandinavian music.

"In Sweden, this is a celebration of the longest day of the year," said Marian Peterson, a member of the Midsommar Committee. "The sun does not set on that day. ... It is celebrated by songs, games and dancing around the decorated Maypole." The group organized an inaugural celebration last year.

"We just decided it would be nice to commemorate Midsommar as they do in Sweden," she said.

Last year it included a potluck; this year's event is expanded with lots more going on - including the public concert at Stockholm's new WideSpot Performing Arts Center, N2030 Spring St.

Activities get under way at 10 a.m. downtown, with an arts and crafts show at the WideSpot. Artisans specializing in Swedish art forms will be featured, Peterson said, including a straw weaver. There will be hands-on experiences for visitors.

From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., children are invited to participate in wreath-making at A Sense of Place, a shop next door to the community's museum. Music "uptown" also is planned.

During the afternoon, festivities will move to Village Park. From 1 to 3 p.m., Michael Borg from Jonkoping, Sweden, will teach everyone to play Kubb, a Scandinavian game for families, and floorball, which Peterson said is a Swedish national sport.

Music is planned hourly from 1 to 5 p.m., and at 3 p.m. people can help decorate the summer solstice pole.

At 6 p.m., there will be dancing and the raising of the summer solstice pole.

Afterward, everyone is invited to join in a procession to WideSpot for Midsommar Evening: A Scandinavian Celebration, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to that concert are $8.

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Performing will be:

• Ross Sutter, a folk musicians with a reputation for fresh interpretations of Scandinavian songs. He works regularly in schools teaching the songs and folk dances that he has collected over the years. He plays guitar, bodhran, button accordion, dulcimer and bones, but is best known for his baritone voice.

• Cheryl Paschke, Swedish nyckelharpa artist. She specializes in Finnish-American dance music and Swedish folk music. She also plays viola in a string quartet and community orchestra.

• Christina Hellqvist and Maria Blom, Swedish recording artists known across Scandinavia and the United States.

• Svenskarnas Dag Girls Choir, a Minneapolis-based choir with a repertoire that includes Swedish folk songs, classics and sacred numbers.