50th annual Danish Festival attracts people from hundreds of miles away

Posted by Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 9:43 pm on Friday, August 15 2014

From left, Anteneah Bremby, 17, Jared Gager, 16, Sam Lindeman, 16, Alex Scholten, 17, and Mitch Niewoonder, 17, all of Greenville, race down Cass Street as they participate in the “Princess and the Pea” bed race Friday evening during the 50th annual Danish Festival in Greenville. — Daily News/Cory Smith


GREENVILLE — Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author most remembered by his fairy tale stories.

This year’s Danish Festival’s children’s activities, named after the famed author, fit the bill.

Addelyn Canham, 1, of Greenville, smiles as she rides in a wagon during the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Parade in Greenville on Friday evening. — Daily News/Cory Smith

With face painting, arts and crafts, a clown, balloons, Legos and even bounce houses, the Hans Christian Andersen children’s events at Tower Riverside Park was a fairy tale scene all its own on Friday.

“I think this is the main thing for the kids to do,” said Deann Oliver, the Hans Christian Andersen event director. “It’s a fun thing to do for kids 10 and under. It’s age appropriate for what the young kids are doing.”

The Danish Festival Band performs a concert on the main stage of the 50th annual Danish Festival in Greenville on Friday evening. — Daily News/Cory Smith

All of the events are free to children and will continue through today from noon to 5 p.m.

In addition to the free-range play children have on all of the activities, organized events also highlight the weekend at Tower Riverside Park. A Lego building competition and an ice cream event took place Friday night.

On Friday morning, it was tough to find a spot around the Lego table, where 10-year-old Nicky Szorentini and a group of his friends were competing against each other in building objects.

A group of youngsters compete against each other in building different types of objects out of Legos during the Hans Christian Andersen children’s events Friday at Tower Riverside Park. Pictured, from left, are Isabelle Headley, 14, of Greenville; Nicky Szorentini, 10, of Pennsylvania; Cameron Evans-Westrick, 11, of Greenville; Will Rodriguez, 17, of Greenville; and Logan Evans, 16, of Greenville. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

“We had two 15-minute building sessions where we built boats and aircrafts,” said Szorentini, who added that the Legos were his favorite part of the children’s activities.

This was Szorentini’s first ever Danish Festival, making the trip from Pennsylvania along with his brother, Matthew Eck, their mother, Saadia Ackerson, who grew up in the Greenville area, and their great-grandmother, Virginia Evans, who still lives in Greenville.

At the age of 78, Evans said she has been to every one of the 50 Danish Festivals.

“I’ve been to them all,” she said as her great-grandchildren experienced their first. “My favorite part is the big parade. I just love parades.”

Burgundy Coleman, 8, of Greenville, gets a Spider-Man design painted on her face by volunteer Carolyn McAdam during the Hans Christian Andersen children’s events at Tower Riverside Park on Friday. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

And it was the parades which Ackerson said she remembered about Danish Festival from her younger years.

“We always went to the fairy tale parade and the big parade,” she said.

She planned on catching Friday night’s Fairy Tale Parade with her children and then the Grand Dansk Parade at 11 a.m. today.

Search for “Danish Festival” on Facebook for a complete schedule this weekend’s events.

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