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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Last December I posted about one of my favorite Holiday traditions, visiting the American Swedish Institute, housed in the former Turnblad home – a beautiful Chateau styled mansion in the heart of Minneapolis.  The Mansion plays host at that time of year to an amazing display of Scandinavian Holiday decorations.

The American Swedish Institute is housed in the mansion built by . . .

. . . Swan Turnblad . . .

 . . . And his wife Christina.

People gathered early for the evening's events.

The first band was about to begin playing.

My friend Mike waiting for the festivities to begin.

This summer, the ASI has come up with another wonderful way to utilize this gorgeous space.  Last Thursday evening, my friend Mike and I attended their Cocktails at the Castle event (this was the second of these events that they’ve hosted this summer).  These gatherings are designed around an exhibit currently on display at the museum, and last weeks celebration featured incredibly beautiful Scandinavian glass art.  As an added bonus, a blown glass artist was demonstrating his craft throughout the night.

A glass blower demonstrating his art.

  Guests entered the courtyard through the Nelson Cultural Center,  
and were first met by a magical Crystal Forrest!

Some of the glass art on display throughout the castle.

In addition to the glass displays, there were a variety of other entertainments throughout the evening.  One of the Minneapolis radio stations sponsored several local bands who provided awesome background music throughout the night, while FIKA, the ASI’s restaurant, provided food and beverages for purchase - I had a delicious herring po’boy sandwich.

People gathering on the front steps of the mansion.

Southside Desire was the first band of the evening.

People waiting in line for the food and beverages provided FIKA.

I had a VERY tasty herring po'boy sandwich.

Foliage at the Castle.

Upon arriving, one of the first things we did was to learn the game Kubb (pronounced koob).  Our instructor, Eric, patiently explained the rules of this game - which goes back to the days of the Vikings - and we had the opportunity to play a few rounds.  While a fairly simple game it does take a while to play.  I played only a couple rounds and then allowed others, who had been waiting patiently, a chance to play.

Kubb was a very popular game all evening long.

This tall fellow became a fire juggler later in the evening.

Great view of the crowd from the second floor terrace of the Nelson Cultural Center.

The goat mascot on the second floor terrace of the Nelson Cultural Center.

As night fell, the outdoor activities included acrobats, a fire juggler, and videos projected on the outside of the castle itself.  The mansion was also open all evening for people to tour, and they were given the added surprise of a small troupe of actors reciting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in its two story Entrance Hall.  There was truly something for everyone that evening.

Sunset over the Castle!

Videos were projected onto the walls of the mansion.

Acrobats were aglow!

Guests stayed late into the night enjoying the festivities.

A great view of the Nelson Cultural Center.

Even darkness couldn't stop the Kubb games!

A quiet reflective space on the north porch.

A small Shakespearean troupe recited Hamlet in the Mansion's two-story Entrance Hall.

Far too soon this wonderful evening came to an end, and it was time to head home, but I couldn’t help taking one more glance back at the beautiful Castle that had been our gracious host.

A final look.

What I wore to Cocktails at the Castle!

Shirt: Polo Ralph Lauren
Tie: Talbot
Vest: Brooks Brothers
Jeans: Dark Denim From Denizen
Socks: Brooks Brothers
Shoes: Nordstrom 1901
Watch Band: Brooks Brothers

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