President's Message

Icelandic Festival of Manitoba President, 2018-2019

Grant Stefanson 


Welcome to Islenðingaðagurinn 2019!  This year we celebrate the 130th Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.  I am honoured to be serving as the President of The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba (“Icelandic Festival”) this year.  I have attended The Icelandic Festival every year since birth.  There is a very good reason for this.  My Afi, Eric Stefanson served as the President of The Icelandic Festival twice:  from 1957 to 1958 and from 1966 to 1967.  My dad, Dennis N. Stefanson served as President in 1973 and 1974.  My Amma, Sigrun Stefanson served as Fjallkona in 1959.

I have volunteered in many capacities for The Icelandic Festival over the years.  My wife, Shannon and our children, Jilian, Reyna and Natalie are seasonal residents in Gimli and we continue many family traditions including volunteering on festival weekend.

Islendingadagurinn 2019 ThemeThe theme of the 2019 Icelandic Festival is: “Take a Viking Voyage / Farið í Víkinga Ferðalag."  We are all on a variety of literal and figurative voyages throughout our lives.  We hope that you will take the time to think about your voyages and our voyages together as we celebrate Icelandic culture in Gimli.  The Icelandic Festival weekend is the perfect time to embark on a voyage with friends and family and enjoy some valuable time together under the sun in Gimli. I would be remiss if I did not pause to take some time to extend a series of thank you’s.  First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers who ensure that our numerous events are successful year in and year out on Festival weekend.  Without them, the Festival would not take place. We have a very strong and capable group of Board members and staff.  Special recognition is due to our Executive Director, Kristine Sigurdson for her capable work over the past year.

The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is a registered charity and relies on the generosity of donors and sponsors in order to keep our Festival mostly free or low cost.  Thank you to all those who have donated to date and I encourage those who have not to consider doing so.  It is a great cause and your donations are sincerely appreciated.

The Legacy Project of The Icelandic Festival, Viking Park, was built in 2017 as a way of thanking the Gimli community for allowing us to host our Festival in Gimli since 1932.  Phase 1A was built in 2018 and consists of extending one of the pathways by completing it with interlocking stones, some of which will contain donor recognition etchings.  We are currently forecasting that Phase 2 of Viking Park will be constructed in late 2019 or early 2020 and there will be more donor opportunities as part of that construction process.  Feel free to contact any Board member of The Icelandic Festival for further details.

I look forward to seeing you at the 2019 Icelandic Festival. 

Yours truly,

Grant A. Stefanson