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Friday, May 16, 2014


Last Friday, the American Swedish Institute kicked off its 2014 Cocktails At The Castle series.  This is a new series that the ASI began last year and there were three events held from spring through fall.  This year’s debut event was in celebration of Europe Day.

The line waiting to get into the event . . . 

. . . wound around the block.

This woodcarver demonstrated how to traditionally make wooden bowls.

The evening provided several activities throughout the Visitor’s Center, the Turnblad Mansion (Castle), and on the lawns.  Music was once again provided by The Current, a local radio station, and included live music from local band, Still Pacific, along with a European-inspired dance party from DJ Jake Ruhd.

This was much harder than it looked.

Two young artists worked together to create a painting 
based on the energy of the evening.

Once again the “Castle” played host to a sell-out crowd of 2000 people, which attests to the quality and popularity of these events.  Guests had the opportunity to dine on food and drink provided the FIKA, the ASI’s restaurant, as well as specialty cocktails from Får North Spirits, and beer from Indeed Brewing!

Some of the amazing paper cuttings.

Our ship came in.

Pick up Ping Pong games!

Music from an accordion and a saw!


Drinking games were provided out on the lawn courtesy of the Germanic American Institute, while ping-pong challenges were taking place on the second floor of the Visitor’s Center.  Another popular activity was the (washable) “tattoo parlor” provided by the students of Gustavus Adolphus College, with wait times of an hour or more.

This juggling clown entertained throughout the evening.

My friend Marisa had way too much fun in the book making room.

Folks getting dressed up for the Snap Yourself photo opportunity.

The castle by night.

Next door to the “tattoo parlor,” guests were invited to do paper crafts such as making buttons, and matchbook-styled note pads, while youthful ballerinas dance both inside and outside of the castle.

Some of the 2000 people in attendance.

The painting progressed nicely throughout the evening.

The castle itself, hosted two excellent art exhibts.  First, the evening served as a soft opening of Love Norway X: Installations by Ian Ward Garlant.  The artist joined us for the evening, and I have to say that this must-see exhibit was truly amazing!!!  The evening also highlighted one of the final opportunities to see Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle.  The intricate delicacies of these papercuts were truly spectacular!

As always, Cocktails At The Castle was a wonderful evening.  The quality of these events is first rate, and never disappoints.  Their next event in this series will be in August.  Be sure to watch their website for more information, and get your tickets early.  These are not-to-be-missed evenings.

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