The Deuce of August is returning with a full program and the force of the prairie wind for its 122nd annual celebration at Mountain, North Dakota, from July 30 to August 1, 2021. This year’s celebration marks a return to normal for the oldest continuing cultural festival in the state.
“After being forced by COVID pandemic health concerns to stage an abbreviated schedule of events for the 2020 Deuce Celebration, it is great to be able to announce that we will have a full slate of in-person events for the 2021 Deuce and we are back in action again,” declared Curtis Olafson, president of the Icelandic Communities Association of Northeast North Dakota. The decision to proceed was made at the ICA monthly meeting in May after determining that conditions had improved since last year. “Several of us in the ICA leadership have also shared the thought that we have a sense that people are anxious to get life back to normal, and for many of our members, it just isn’t summer unless you have The Deuce to look forward to.”
Last year, The Deuce took most of its program online, but this year the streets of Mountain will once again throng with Icelandic Americans showing their pride in their heritage.
Wayne Gudmundson, a highly regarded photographer who may be best known for his photographs depicting life in the Upper Midwest, will be the keynote speaker at the Heritage Program on Saturday, July 31, at 2:00 p.m. Wayne’s latest book, A Song for Liv, which pairs his photographs with personal accounts of his family over 28 generations, was published by North Dakota State University Press in July.
The food and entertainment will begin on Friday, July 30, with the Mountain American Legion Fish Fry on Main Street at 5:00 p.m. and continue with a Free Stage at 7:00 p.m. The next morning, the Pancake and Sausage Breakfast will be served at the Mountain Chalet from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. The Parade will work its way south on Main Street beginning at 10:30 a.m. and it will be broadcast live on KXPO AM 1340. This year’s parade grand marshals are Richard and Janyce Bjornson. The Vikur Salad Luncheon will begin serving in the basement of Vikur Lutheran Church at 11:00 a.m. At noon, the Car Show and Shine will commence as well as Kids’ Inflatable Games; Icelandic Storybook Time follows at 12:30 in Amma’s Garden at the Mountain Community Center, as does the Pedal Tractor Pull for Kids. The Heritage Program will begin at 2:00 p.m. and the day will end with a Street Dance featuring “Front Fenders” at 9:00 p.m.
The always-popular Genealogy Center, sponsored by Icelandic Roots, will be open at the Mountain Community Center on Friday, July 30, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., and on Saturday, July 31, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Those who can’t attend in person can schedule a virtual appointment via Zoom with an IR volunteer genealogist by contacting Sunna Olafson Furstenau at
Kathie Johnson and Dori Heck will operate a souvenir table throughout the celebration, carrying shirts, mugs, totes, jewelry, and books. Deuce souvenirs are also available by mail order year round. Visit shirtsfromfargo.com and enter “deuce” in the search bar.
The weekend will conclude on Sunday, August 1, with a worship service at Vikur Lutheran Church at 11:00 a.m., after which the North Dakota State Tractor and Pickup Pulling Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. in what is promised to be “our biggest and best show ever!”
Digested from Fjalla Blað, the newsletter of the Icelandic Communities Association of Northeast North Dakota.