28th Annual Norwegian Country Christmas Tour
CLIFTON - The glorious sunshine and brisk breeze that whipped up the Norwegian flags along the route and in town added to the seasonal atmosphere of the 28th annual Norwegian Country Christmas Tour offering a perfect day to saunter, shop and sight see in beautiful Bosque County. What a splendid way to start the season.
The Christmas Tour all started with the traditional lighted parade, which heralds in the Christmas season and brings Santa to town. After the parade in Clifton Friday, visitors at the Museum by Candlelight could stop in and experience the rituals, myths and magic of a traditional Texas Christmas with Santa in attendance.
And at the Bosque Arts Center Arts of Christmas, there were cookies, cocoa, artisan and pottery sale and music from South 31st with Jimmy and Steve Schmidt playing some smooth tunes. And the kids loved their visit and photo opportunity with The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who.
The next day in Clifton, there was music, free carriage rides, arts and crafts from local artists at the Shop on 219. Both the Edwin Olsen Railway Museum and the Clifton Classic Chassis museum were open for those wanting less seasonal, but still very interesting fare.
Art lovers could enjoy the Kathy Tate one-man show at the BAC or enjoy a Funky Flea Market at the Market at the Mill. At the Clifton Armory, a Christmas market offered everything from Norwegian Lefse, Norwegian and traditional Christmas décor, and candles to demonstrations and music.
And for those buying tickets for the tour, the ever-so-popular Norwegian Lunch with kjoltboller (meatballs), potet (mashed potatoes), brown gravy, green beans almondine, rodbette salat (beet salad), bread and butter, sandbakkels (sand tarts) and rosettes offered a welcome break from all the shopping and sightseeing.
An integral part of the NCCT is the celebration of the Norwegian settlers that came to Bosque County in search of a better life and the chance to own some land. And every year, historic Norwegian homes and churches open their doors to the public. At all venues, docents and owners were present to aid the visitors with any enquiries and questions they had. A total of 70 volunteers help make the country tour a memorable day for everyone.
This year, the tour visited the Switching House and The Barn on the River’s Bend Farm.
Other historic Norwegian sites along the tour are the staples - the CP farm with the Cleng Peerson cabin, the Ringness House museum, St. Olaf’s Kirke and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
At the St. Olaf’s Kirke and at the Ringness House, where both exudes history from their limestone walls and wooden floors, music and the smell of wood burning stoves filled the locations. The Kirke offered a full day of seasonal music, including the Tuba Christmas Band, the Brazos Point Bluegrass Gospel Band, the Clifton Elementary Honors choir and Brian Barrett to name a few.
Just by standing in the historic homes and monuments, visitors took in history with every breath, transporting them back in time to the early European settlers in the county.
And if the day wasn’t Norwegian enough, the Cranfills Gap ISD offered their annual very traditional and unique Lutefisk dinner for the 55th time Saturday evening.
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS