Tractor rides served up with barbecue dinner

Members of the Edvard Grieg Lodge # 74, a Norwegian cultural heritage organization, enjoyed a an afternoon filled with barbecue meals and tractor rides at the Lutheran Church in the Foothills on Saturday.

The group meets every fourth Saturday of the month and meetings usually start with a language lesson or a presentation of Norwegian culture. A majority of the group members are of Norwegian descent, although anyone with an interest in Norwegian culture and history is welcome to join the group as well, said Lodge President Jo Ness.

Named after the Norwegian composer, most famous for the Peer Gynt Suite, the Lodge is an organization that has fraternal chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Norway. The Edvard Greig Lodge is also under the umbrella of a larger, father organization called Sons of Norway.

For member Shelly Baum, the Saturday barbecue was a special one, as she was awarded the “Our Treasures” plaque from the group, in recognition of her active and loyal commitment to the lodge.

The event Saturday on the La Cañada church campus was a more laid back-affair than usual meetings, and seniors and children alike lined up in the shade of the church parking lot in eager anticipation of the tractor rides.

Ron Boettcher and Mike Boehlen, vintage tractor enthusiasts, helped people onto their 1941 and 1942 John Deere tractors and pulled the clutch as participants guided the tractors around the parking lot. Both men vigilantly supervised the rides, walking right behind the large tractor tires.

“Tractor riding is so different for most of us and since we’ve [the group] moved to this church, last September, the parking lot is large and we got permission to drive in tractors,” Ness said.

“I thought it was really cool,” said 11-year-old Olive Savoie, who drove a tractor by herself.

Although the tractor rides may be one of the most unique events the group has participated in, the lodge also presents special traditional events as well.

“We make lefse bread, which is like a flapjack made of potatoes, once a year, usually around Christmas, and we also make these ornate Baroque paintings called Rosemaling,” said Patricia Hamilton, publicity chairman for the Lodge.

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