Saturday, October 17, 2009

Leif Erikson day SpongeBob Style!

Rain or Shine: Another Great Leif Erikson Day!

Many great thanks are in order to all of the folks that played a part in helping to organize this years 3nd annual Leif Erikson Day celebration. We would especially like to take the time and thank all of the people that made it out and took part in Saturday’s celebration.

As an event that started over two years ago as nothing more than an idea, it has been the continued support from all of our friends, family and supporters that has enabled us to build upon such an honorable celebration. And even with the rain scaring off a number of people we were still able do this great holiday justice and brave the weather in true viking spirit!

Thanks again everyone, we’ll be seeing all of you again next October.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Leif Erikson Day 2009: Directions & Hotel Info

This year's event will begin promptly at 12 noon. We recommend that everyone do their best to get here early, especially with the amount of traffic generated by the Navy Day Regatta boat race taking place in the immediate area that day. We will begin our walk to the Thorfinn Karlsefni statue from the meeting point at exactly 12pm so don't be late otherwise you will run the risk of being left behind. If you are late however, we will have a number of designated volunteers monitoring the parking area that will be able to assist you in getting to the statue. We will also be enforcing a strict dress code and those of you that are unable to follow it will be turned away with no exceptions (i.e. if you wouldn't wear it to your grandparents house you probably shouldn't wear it here, just use your head).

For those of you that plan on attending our acoustic concert, we ask that you bring your own chairs as we will only be able to provide a limited amount to those in attendance. Directions to the concert will only be given out in person to those present at the speaking engagement.

And remember, this is a family friendly event and there will be a large number of children in attendance. Absolutely no type of alcohol will be permitted during this event. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at:


From I-95
I-95 to exit #22 (for 676 west)
676 to Ben Franklin Parkway/Museum Area exit (22nd St)
Make right off the exit & go 2 blocks
Make left onto Ben Franklin Pkwy, bear right (past international fkags overhead) to Kelly Drive
Continue to bear right, follow Kelly Drive past Sedgley Drive
Make a right at Lemon Hill Drive (Pilgrim type statue)
Go uphill, make a right at 3 way
Left onto dirt driveway to Lemon Hill
Mansion parking lot or adjoining roads

From 76 West
Take exit #342 towards the Phila Zoo
Turn left @ Girard Ave (across bridge)
Make a right onto Poplar Drive
Make straight right onto Lemon Hill Rd (park entrance)
Follow Lemon Hill Rd until the intersection with Sedgley Drive
Cross intersection & make a right at the Mansion.

Park in the lot or adjoining roads.

Hotel Information:

Roosevelt Inn
7600 Roosevelt Bld.
215-338-7600 or toll free 888-338-7604
Room prices starting at $78.94

The Hub
7605 Roosevelt Blvd.
Room prices $65.00
Cheap but not recommended

11580 Roosevelt Blvd.
Room prices starting at $89.00

Lincoln Highway Near The Turnpike:

Red Roof Inn
3100 Lincoln Highway
Room prices starting at $74.00

Knights Inn
2707 Lincoln Highway
Room prices starting at $52.20

Neshaminy Motor Inn
2345 Old Lincoln Highway
Room prices $57.27

Leif Erikson Day 2009: Making Your Efforts Count

In less than one week from today many of us will be gathering in downtown Philadelphia to pay tribute to Leif Erikson and Thorfinn Karlsefni, two great men whose actions transformed their own thoughts and dreams into a reality, one that has impacted generations and even shaped the very lives that we live today. And much like the rest of us, with the numerous thoughts and ideas that pass through our heads on a daily basis, the Philadelphia Leif Erikson Day celebration started out as little more than just that; an idea.

With the help of no more than 30 people, the Leif Erikson Day celebration here in Philadelphia has since grown into an event that all of us can be proud of. We are now coming up on our 3rd year and we ask that all of you do your part to see that this event gets the proper attention it deserves. We ask that you take the time out of your day to repost our flier on any of the social networking sites that you use and to spread this information by word of mouth to your friends and family. But most importantly, we ask that you pay tribute to these great men by making the trip to Philadelphia, PA on Sat October 10th to stand side by side with all of us in honor of such a worthy celebration.

The Story of the Kensington Runestone

By Wm. P. Holmen, Viking Research

It all started in l898 when the ten year old son of Olof Ohman, who was farming two and half miles northeast of Kensington, found strange markings on a slab of rock that had just been pried out of the ground. The son, Edward, called his father's attention to the stone.

The father, who had been clearing trees and rocks from a level space on top of a hill 40 feet above the surrounding low land, saved the stone, and later showed it to prominent citizens in Kensington. No one was able to completely decipher the stone, until nine years later when Hjalmer R. Holand, a University of Wisconsin graduate student with a major in history, heard of the stone on a trip to Kensington.

Mr. Holand translated the stone and found it to read,"8 Goths and 22 Norweigans on exploration journey from Vinland over the west. We camp by 2 skerries one day-journey from this stone. We were and fished one day. After we came home, 10 men red with blood and tourtured. Hail Virgin Mary, save from evil. Have 10 men by the sea to look after our ship, 14 day -journeys from this island year 1362."

The translation of this stone sparked an international search to find out if it could possibly be genuine. The Minnesota Historical society appointed five scholars to investigate, and after a year and half of work reported the stone genuine.

The Kensington Runestone is 31 inches high, 16 inches wide, six inches thick and weighs 202 pounds.

This is how the expedition, 130 years before Columbus started:

Navigator for the crews was Nicolas of Lynn, an English astronomer who was known throughout Europe. He brought the small ships safely to Iceland, Greenland, Rhode Island and Hudson Bay. While the main party went south looking for a safer way back to New England than the bitter cold northern route, he mapped the whole of Hudson Bay and discovered, for the first time in history, the magnetic North Pole.

The sons of Columbus said the discovery of islands in the west by Lynn, was one of the factors which encouraged his father to try the southern route to America. A map by John Ruysch, dated 1508, refers to the discovery of the magnetic North Pole as an accomplished fact. In 1537 a map was published of Hudson Bay showing the discoveries of Lynn, which included such details as spring thaws which flooded to the north.

The American evidence is equally extensive.

A series of 15 campsites have been found, running from Hudson Bay to Sauk Centre, Minnesota. The Vikings, as is still the case in Norway, cut triangular holes in convenient rock ledges to which to fasten anchor pins for their boats.

Because the Indians or early settlers to Minnesota did not use such type of holes, these mooring holes are distinctive and have not been molested. They are so old, the rain and sand have worn the tiny chisel marks on their inner surfaces smooth. Several have been found at projected intermediate places along the route.

There are a number of actual 1362 period Norse instruments, which have been taken to Europe and found to be identical with similar instruments in the Nordic museum near Stockholm and other museums.

These instruments have been found in no other place in the North American continent showing they could not have been brought to this country by settlers.

These instruments include a firesteel for making fires; a ceremonial halbred signifying a royal expedition; a heavy battle axe with a 16 inch cutting edge; a light battle axe, used for fighting men in armoured suits; a spear head; a Nordic sword, and other relics which include mooring stone pins.

The Verendrye Runestone was found in 1783 near Minot, North Dakota. It was fitted into a pillar, had runic markings on both sides and was about 5 inches wide and 13 inches long. Indians who were asked about the stone said it had been part of the pillar since time immemorial.

Verendrye, a French explorer, took the stone to eastern Canada, where it was studied by Jesuit priests, and then he took it to France where it became lost. The Minnesota Historical Society has offered a $1,000.00 reward for its rediscovery.

Mr Holand says it may well have been found in Mandan territory and that it may carry an additional message from the Vikings who lived out their lives with those Indians.

There are blue-eyed Mandan Indians who knew about Christianity before the first settlers arrived, and who lived in square medieval-Norwegian design buildings. It is believed that the main party which went south from Hudson Bay had a special religious service at Sauk Centre at a huge stone alter there and then turned back north to rejoin their comrades.

However, due to accident, fire, error in judgment, or unexpected severe fall headwinds, they were unable to return in time to go with Lynn on his return back to Europe. So, they cast their lot with the Mandan Indians, widely known for their noble mode of life.

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Einar Jónsson: Iceland´s First Sculptor

EINAR Jónsson (1874-1954)

Einar Jónsson was Iceland´s first sculptor. He attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1896 to 1899, studying under Wilhelm Bissen and Theobald Stein.Jónsson laid the foundation for Icelandic sculpture with his first publicly exhibited work, "Outlaws," which was shown at the Spring Salon in Copenhagen in 1901.

Jónsson drew inspiration from the Icelandic folklore heritage for "Outlaws" and other works from the first decade of the century, but also used mythological and religious motifs. After residing in Rome from 1902 to 1903, Jónsson completely rejected naturalistic depiction and publicly criticized the classical art tradition, which he felt had weighed artists down. He emphasized the need for artists to forge their own path and cultivate their originality and imagination instead of following in the footsteps of others. His ideas were related to German symbolism, and he developed a figurative language composed of interpretable symbols, personification and allegory. Jónsson’s exposure to the ideas of the Swedish theosopher Emanuel Swedenborg in 1910 had a significant influence on his life and art. From that point on until the end of his life, he created figurative art works whose complex symbolism was based on theosophy.

Even though Jónsson dealt with abstract themes, he always used concrete imagery that made it easier for people to approach his works on their own terms. Many casts of Jónsson’s sculptures adorn the city of Reykjavik. Examples include "Outlaws," located by the old cemetery on Suðurgata, "Ingolfur Arnarson," who gazes out upon the land he settled from atop Arnarholl Hill, and a statue of the Icelandic national independence hero Jon Sigurðsson located at Austurvöllur Square, across from the Parliament House.

Einar Jónsson was a groundbreaking figure in Icelandic sculpture and his influence on the visual arts in Iceland has been considerable, though indirect. He moved permanently back to Iceland in 1920 at the age of 46 and resided there until his death in 1954.