Annual Swedish Smorgasbord celebrates Dubois' tie hack heritage

Dubois, WY-Mark your summer calendar for an annual Dubois tradition-the Swedish Smorgasbord on Saturday, June 18. The buffet-style smorgasbord, featuring traditional Scandinavian food, will be served at 5 and 6 p.m. in the Headwaters Arts and Conference Center in Dubois.

The Swedish Smorgasbord celebrates the legacy of the Scandinavian tie hacks that cut cross-ties for the railroad industry for over forty years in the national forest of the Upper Wind River Valley. The ties were cut throughout the winter and gathered along creek banks awaiting the spring floods. Once the spring melt-off began, the ties were driven into the water and floated 100 miles via flume and the Wind River to the railroad terminal in Riverton. As the ties were driven down stream, the tie hacks gathered at camps along the river banks and ate traditional Scandinavian food cooked in Dutch ovens. Passers-by on the highway stopped and joined the tie hacks in these meals and turned the gatherings into celebrations.

When the railroad ceased logging in the Upper Wind River Valley, Lydia Olson (wife of Wyoming Tie and Timber Company woods boss Martin Olson), joined with members of the St. Thomas Church Guild to continue the community tradition. The community potluck featuring traditional Scandinavian food was first held in 1948 until the early 1980s. The Dubois Museum Association revived the tradition in 2004 as part of Dubois' 90th birthday celebration. The rich cultural history of this event is highlighted by True West magazine as part of what makes Dubois a #2 True Western Town.

Tickets for the 2011 Swedish Smorgasbord are $12 for adults and $8 for children. They will go on sale May 23 at the Dubois Museum, Dubois Chamber of Commerce, Headwaters Center, National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center, and Water Wheel Gifts.

Take the opportunity to enrich your Swedish Smorgasbord experience by volunteering for the event. It is the perfect chance to learn how to cook traditional Swedish dishes, or to participate in an annual community tradition. Volunteers are part of what makes this event successful year after year.