This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Mayor Goodman Proclaims Oct. 9 'Leif Erikson Day'
Published on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 (10:05 p.m.)Leif Erikson will appear in person at Las Vegas City Hall Wednesday as Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaims Oct. 9 “Leif Erikson Day” throughout the city.
The Viking Leif, who stepped foot in the Americas 500 years before Columbus, will appear with local Scandinavians dressed in folk costumes at the City Council meeting Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.
“Leif discovered America and beat Columbus to it by 500 years,” said Erik Pappa, president of the Vegas Viking Lodge of the Sons of Norway. “He and his 35 men displayed remarkable bravery and courage in crossing the ocean to get here. While the holiday has significance for the 52,000 Scandinavians who call the Las Vegas Valley home, everyone can take pride in Leif’s triumph, which has inspired generations of Americans.”
Christian Schoyen, who is spearheading local efforts to celebrate Leif’s accomplishment and who will address the City Council, said, “The Norwegian Viking Leif Erikson’s legacy is represented by the four key Viking traits: Imagination, vision, collaboration and fearlessness. A drawing competition for children in 1st to 5th grade is being sponsored by the Sons of Norway Vegas Viking lodge to nurture these four traits in children growing up in Southern Nevada." Some $875 in prizes will be awarded. Details are available at www.LeifEriksonDay.com.
Mayor Goodman’s proclamation states that Leif Erikson Day “is about the discovery of America and Erikson being a role model with his bravery, determination and courage, which are characteristics that everyone should strive for. This year’s Leif Erikson Day is especially meaningful since 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Vegas Viking Lodge of the Sons of Norway.”
Leif Erikson Day has been recognized nationally every year since 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson first proclaimed the day. Leif Erikson Day falls one day after Columbus Day. Leif Erikson was born in Iceland but had Norwegian heritage. He was the son of the Viking Erik the Red and sailed to America with 35 men, including one German.
The Vegas Vikings will celebrate the day early with a Leif Erikson Dinner when they meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 111 N. Torrey Pines Dr. There will be a presentation about Leif Erikson and the Viking spirit. Starting Friday, the Vegas Vikings will participate in the three-day Las Vegas Renaissance Festival with their Viking ship at Silverbowl Park.
Some people don’t even realize Leif Erikson Day is real. Some young people only know it as the cartoon character Sponge Bob’s favorite holiday, a time to strap on a red beard and Viking helmet and celebrate with the words, “Hey, everybody! It’s Leif Erikson Day! Hinga Dinga Durgen!”
The Vegas Viking lodge ( www.vegasviking.com ) was organized in May 1992 and has been involved in a wide variety of special events featuring traditional and contemporary programs having a Norwegian-American flavor ever since. As part of the Sons of Norway, it is a fraternal benefit and cultural society dedicated to preserving Norwegian heritage in North America and strengthening the ties between North America and modern Norway. Vegas Viking also helps local charities through donations. The 2000 Census showed 52,000 Scandinavians in Clark County – 20,000 Norwegians, 20,000 Swedes, 10,000 Danes and 2,000 who called themselves Scandinavian.