As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been taking a break from writing to take care of my beautiful baby boy. During this time off the Ballard community has been so wonderful to me and my family, I thought it would be fun to highlight one of the aspects that makes Ballard a wonderful place to raise a family. Interestingly, this will likely give a different (although hopefully complementary) view of life in Ballard than the video that Dustin linked to the other day.
Ballard is known for having one of the largest Norwegian populations outside of Norway. But the Nordic influences are not limited to Norway as there is a huge Scandinavian influence all around. Along with the Nordic Heritage Museum, there are many local specialty stores that sell things like pickled herring, specialty breads and other traditional Nordic foods.
In addition, the Leif Ericson Lodge plays a wonderful role in uniting the local population through a ton of community events. Lief Ericson Lodge was first organized on May 13 1903 and currently has 2,000 members. Just this past Saturday it had a large bazaar with lots of music, dancing, singing and wonderful food.
We became involved in the community through a wonderful dance class (called Barneleikarringen) that Dustin attends with our daughter every Tuesday night. The class is taught by a wonderful elderly couple who dedicate their time and effort in order to share their cultural dances and stories with the kids. Despite the fact that neither Dustin or I have Nordic heritage (that we know of anyway), everyone at the lodge has been wonderful to our family. (By the way, anyone with children is invited to attend this great dance class… It starts at 6:30pm every Tuesday and the suggested donation is $5/month, which probably doesn’t even cover the cost of the treats that pass out after each class.)
There are a bunch of benefits to taking part in this dance class that the kids simply love. For starters, they get to walk in the Norwegian Constitution Day Parade as well as dance at a slew of community functions.
(By the way, they also have dancing lessons geared toward adults, but I don’t know much about that… yet!)
The strong Nordic roots are just one more reason that Ballard is a wonderful place to live.