86th Annual Lutefisk Dinner Set For Saturday, February 2 at Havre First Lutheran Church
January 30, 2019
Eighty-six years of tradition returns to the Hi-Line on Saturday, February 2 when First Lutheran Church serve up their 86th Annual Swedish Meatball and Norwegian Lutefisk Dinner at First Lutheran Church in Havre. The dinner is the longest running ethnic event in Havre. Serving begins at 12 noon in the Fellowship Hall and runs to 6 p.m.
The Scandinavian dinner originally started as a small gathering in the old church parsonage where a handful of people were served a lutefisk dinner. As time went on the Swedish Meatballs were added to give those who disliked lutefisk as a choice of food and yet stay with an ethnic foods dinner. The dinner itself becomes almost secondary to the fellowship which is enjoyed by those attending and those working the event.
Ever wonder why so many people get so excited about Norwegian Lutefisk and Swedish meatball? Could it be that its not so much the lutefisk or meatballs for many, but everything else that goes with the meal, the geat boiled potatoes, coleslaw, lefsa, rolls, melted butter, cranberry sauce, sandbakkles, ice cream and of course lots of strong Norwegian coffee.
For the most part all of the items listed above are pretty explanatory, except for sandbakkles which is a dessert that some claim to be the best part of the dinner. The making of sandbakkles take place anywhere from one to two weeks prior to the dinner. Sandbakkles are a pastry which is pressed into small tins and baked in the oven. They are served with a dish of ice cream that tops off the best meal in town on the day of the dinner.
Believe it or not, there are great number of people who travel great distances to partake of this fabulous, ethnic meal. Across Montana every year in late fall and early winter Lutheran congregations put on lutefisk and meatball dinners. Most of these are fund raising projects put on by various congregations.
The dinner in Havre is hosted by Lutherans in Mission members from First Lutheran and Messiah Lutheran Churches and although the men seem to be in charge, without the help of all the women preparing so many parts of the dinner the men would be hard pressed to make the event a success.
The funds raised from the dinner are used for various worthwhile projects. For years the funds went to the Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd, now the funds are given to the Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp and other local projects including Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen and the school Back Pack Program. Thrivent is a corporate sponsor of the dinner.