Annual US Icelandic festival draws thousands

Thousands of people gathered on August 2nd in North Dakota for the annual ‘Deuce of August’ Icelandic heritage festival.

The event is held in a remote town in the northern US state each summer to recognise the region’s Icelandic pride and Iceland’s independence from Denmark. The festival continues to grow since first starting out in the tiny plains village of Mountain, North Dakota, more than a century ago.

Locals also say that people travelled from all around North America and even from Iceland for this year’s Deuce of August, which remains the largest regular Icelandic cultural gathering in the United States.

Curtis Olafson told Associated Press on behalf of the event’s organising committee, “We keep changing and doing some different things every year,” which he said keeps visitors coming back for more.

The Deuce of August is a particularly big deal for the town’s residents, who only number just over 100 outside of festival season.

The event’s namesake refers to the date in 1874 in which Iceland’s constitution was born, prompting subsequent sovereignty from Copenhagen. Also honoured in the ceremonies each year are numerous veterans of WWII.