Nordic Fest, a nonprofit founded in 1967, has voted in a new Fest Board President.
Ariana Cervantes, Store Manager for Decorah Hy-Vee, who served as lead for the Fest Beverage Garden in 2022 was unanimously approved for Nordic Fest Board President for 2023. This is the first time a person of color has served in this role for the nonprofit.
Cervantes has been a resident of the Decorah since 2010 and is a Luther College Alumni (Class of 2012) with a degree in music and a minor in Scandinavian Studies. Originally from Brooklyn Center, Minn., Cervantes’ love for all things Scandinavian started when she did a class project about an antique spinning wheel owned by her Grandmother Carol.Cervantes can trace ancestors on her mother’s side to Wales, Germany, Ireland, and England. She can even attribute 1/16 of her heritage to Norway. Her father was Mexican, O’odham, and Yaqui, and a member of Gila River Indian Community (located near Phoenix, Arizona). Cervantes says the O’odham people are well known for their expert basket weaving, but it’s a skill she hasn’t yet mastered. Her father taught her beadwork and following his death, she inherited an extensive and beautiful collection of beading supplies. Her Native American lineage is something that she is proud to share.
“I think having women of color in leadership positions is important and so I’m certainly glad to have that recognized,” she says.
As planning ramps up for the summer festival, Cervantes will be at the helm to ensure a vibrant celebration. Her Fest favorites are rømmegrøt and the Elveløpet race, but you can bet she will also be facilitating all the ways we show appreciation for how we all got to this place.
“Heritage matters and the Fest is one of the things we do to keep story and celebration alive,” she continued.
She recommends first-time visitors try a Norwegian food that is new to them and strike up a conversation with another person – one of the best things about the food lines is that you can make new friends.
Nordic Fest is an annual three-day summer festival held in Decorah, celebrating community and the area’s Scandinavian heritage. The 56th annual Nordic Fest will take place July 27-29, 2023. Organized by a board of volunteers, Nordic Fest offers food, activities and entertainment for the whole family. Learn more and get involved at nordicfest.com.