Ephraim is holding its Scandinavian Heritage Festival Thursday through Saturday to celebrate the influence of the Scandinavian pioneers who settled the Sanpete Valley.

Many folks in Ephraim have ancestors who converted to the LDS Church and immigrated to America in the 1800s. About 650,000 Utahns trace their ancestry to Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland, according to the Heritage Festival.

In fact, I have a few Danish ancestors myself. Our family has passed stories down through several generations about how, before coming to Utah, they were denounced by their neighbors and disowned by their families for their Mormon beliefs. As far as I know, none of my ancestors settled in Ephraim. So why am I going to the Scandinavian Heritage Festival? For the food, of course.

I was invited to help judge a Scandinavian bread contest on Friday afternoon. Chairman Lisa Frame said there are five categories: white, wheat, Scandinavian, specialty and a junior division for those 16 and younger. Any of these categories can win the grand prize: a Bosch bread mixer. Last year there were 45 entries, so I'm thinking the judges will have our work cut out for us.

Of course, man doesn't live by bread alone. A Little Scandinavian Supper takes place Friday, 6-8 p.m., at Snow College's Greenwood Student Center, cooked by the college's chef, David Hveem. The smorgasbord spread is $12 for adults and $7 for children under age 8, and includes Scandinavian cheeses, cranberry-spinach salad, apple-beet-cabbage salad, mustard-crusted roasted new potatoes with shallots and garlic, Norwegian rice casserole, cauliflower au gratin, roasted vegetables, sauteed chicken with caraway and cream, Danish apple pork, and salmon with Swedish sour cream and caviar sauce. For dessert, there's an apple pastry called Veiled Maiden and apple strudel cake.

On Saturday, from 8-10 a.m., the Ephraim Lions Club is hosting an Ebelskiver Breakfast on the Snow College north lawn. Ebelskivers, which means "apple slices" in Danish, are similar to pancakes, but they have a fruit or jelly filling.

They're traditionally made in a special pan that has several round indentations to make six or seven ebelskivers at a time. The menu also includes eggs, sausage, pancakes and juice or milk, and the cost is $5 per person or $25 per family.

At noon on Saturday, the Ephraim Senior Citizens will host an old-fashioned roast beef dinner at the senior center, 85 W. 100 North, for $8 per plate.

In between all this eating, there's a fun run and a parade Saturday morning, and live music and crafts booths on Friday and Saturday.

There are also activities to help people connect with local history and Scandinavian culture with a Scandinavian Heritage Conference on Thursday at 7 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, there's a a quilt show and ceramics exhibit, and demonstrations of blacksmithing, pottery making and rosmaling. Rosmaling is a Norwegian decorative painting or carving done on wood or furniture. You can also tour a log cabin now located on the grounds of Pioneer Park (about 75 W. 100 North).

A bus tour, which runs every hour from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday from Pioneer Park, covers about 25 historic homes and sites.

For more information about the festival, you can check the Web site, scandinavianheritagefestival.com, or call 435-283-4631.

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