All are invited to St. Lucia festival Dec. 8 in Stratford

To the editor:

To the communities of the Greater Swede Bend area:

Once again, the Lucia Festivity of Light Pageant approaches in Stratford. This pageant honors the sacrifice of St. Lucia, who gave relief to the cast-out Christians imprisoned in Rome. Her crown of candles lit her way through the dark as her hands were carrying food and drink to them.

Last year, I was crowned St. Lucia. I had been attending the pageant since I was young and was excited to have been one of the candidates, like my sister had been before. It’s so exciting to be part of this event, especially watching the younger participants get dressed in their costumes.

I never really thought I would be crowned as St. Lucia for the year, but I was so excited to have been chosen. I fondly remember my Swedish heritage being shared with me by my grandmother — my favorite was eating her pepperkaker cookies. I was able to share my heritage throughout my reign as St. Lucia. A favorite event was the World Culture Fair I participated in at Iowa Central Community College along with the 2016-17 St. Lucia, Olivia Mitchell.

I invite everyone to this year’s pageant at 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Stratford Lutheran Church. Carol singing will be prior, at 1:30 p.m., and refreshments after the pageant.

Ladies ages 14-plus from Gowrie, Boxholm, Harcourt, Dayton, Burnside, Fort Dodge, Stratford, and Stanhope who have Swedish ancestry are encouraged to sign up as a Lucia candidate before Nov. 23. Those young girls and boys 5-plus years who would like to participate as Lucia maidens, star boys, and elfin boys need not be of Swedish heritage. Please contact Carol Larson at 515-835-9992, or 515-838-2440.

I hope to see you all there to welcome the new Lucia and enjoy a beautiful cultural holiday experience!

Ella Carlson

St. Lucia 2017-18