The Scandinavian Festival Association has another honor to share with visitors to our 54th Festival this year. Our Festival was honored with an “Oregon Heritage Tradition Designation” from the Oregon Heritage Commission for continually upholding a tradition in the State of Oregon.
“It’s a designation that is owned by festivals and fairs that have been in existence for 50 years or longer,” said Scandinavian Festival Association Board member David Vaughan. Vaughan filed an application with the state’s Oregon Heritage Commission that recently approved the award and sent a notice of approval to him on Nov. 4, 2013.
“It’s a new feather in the cap of Festival and an accomplishment we can be very proud of,” Vaughan said. “We have a Finnish locomotive that rests here in Junction City in its own Founder’s Park, we host a world-class Festival annually, and now we have the designation from the Oregon Heritage Commission that our festival is one of a handful that have been around for a half a century plus.”
The designation is prestigious because only four other events in the state have received this award: the Oregon State Fair in Salem since 1858, the Linn County Pioneer Picnic in Brownsville since 1887, the Astoria Regatta since 1894 and the Pendleton Round-Up since 1910.
The award is important, “because it highlights our festival at a time when we are losing touch with our heritage,” Vaughan said, referring to Junction City heritage and not necessarily heritage from the old country. He also believes the award is an item of distinction that makes Junction City different from other cities.
“Not everyone can say that they are an Oregon Heritage Tradition, so it brings honor to our people,” he said. “We worked hard for 50 plus years to enjoy this and we are proud of it.”
Vaughan is also head of the Scandinavian Cultural Foundation, an organization who recently got a 501C3 nonprofit credential for the Scandinavian Festival Association (SFA). The whole Foundation project could take several years to build, with the organization having been recognized as tax exempt by the IRS.
The advantages of gaining nonprofit status are that members can claim membership on taxes and businesses can claim tax deductions for donations to nonprofit organizations like the Scandinavian Cultural Foundation.
Members of the Oregon Heritage Commission came down from Salem to present the Oregon Heritage Tradition award to the mayor during a city council meeting on January 14, 2014.
After paying homage to the city, the plaque will take its place on the wall in the Dr. Gale F. Fletchall Hall.
Source- Tri-County Tribune article by Vera Westbrook