July 7, 1997

Dear Lars and Inga, 

I was just getting settled in my new home here when the strangest thing happened! I was walking down Juniper Street on my way Festival Costume showdowntown to do some shopping when a brightly colored gypsy wagon rolled past me, being hauled by a pickup truck. I thought that was strange, because usually, you know, they're pulled by horses. Then, as I turned onto Sixth Avenue another gypsy wagon passed me! It was the cutest thing, all painted in white and blue with a high peaked roof. Then, as I was about to cross Ivy Street, yet another gypsy wagon was turning towards the center of town! And what do you think? There were three more coming down the street. I tell you, I was mighty wondering exactly what kind of a place my new home was turning into! 

Kansantansijat performs at the Mall PlatformThey all seemed to be heading down Sixth Avenue, and can you imagine -those bold gypsies were parking in front of all the stores and setting up camp! Then, here comes a bunch of people pulling large bushels of flowers through the streets. Finally, several locals pulled a large Dala horse (which I had not seen one since leaving home) and placed it in the middle of the street! At first, I think they are trying to trap the gypsies inside to keep them from leaving, but I hear no arguing, so I am supposing  everything is alright. 

I was a little nervous about being around so many gypsies, so I decided to go back home and come back the next day. When I did, what do you think! The whole downtown seemed to have disappeared, and had been replaced with a new village. People are laughing and walking around eating aebleskivers while polka music is playing all around. It made me homesick, I can tell you. But here's something strange. I saw many people walking around wearing warm winter festival clothing in 95 degree heat! I'm telling you, these Junction City folk are very wierd. 

My new friend OlafWell, as you can probably tell, it turns out that it wasn't a gypsy gathering, but instead an annual Scandinavian Festival they've held each year, for 37 years! I did see several Vikings wandering around, and I even made friends with one of them named Olaf. He seemed pretty agreeable, but I kept a close watch on my wallet just the same. What a time I had! I wish you could have been here to sample all the wonderful food! And the music and dancing, you wouldn't believe! They had two stages, and it seems there was always something going on, and all for free! 

But now, here comes the sad part. After just four days all of a sudden it's over, and all the music and dancers and craftsmen and food just disappear. I don't know, but I think it is possible to be homesick for a place you've only been for four days. They say it will be back next year, so I am already looking forward to it. 

All my best, 

P.S. - I hope you are saving my other letters: