Milan, Minn. -- The Syttende Mai Committee in Milan is excited to have Per Tofte, from Norway, come to present his program, "Everyone has a cousin in America" on Saturday, May 19. It promises to be very interesting to those have ancestors who emigrated to this area many years ago. The presentation will be held in the Milan School Community Room following the Syttende Mai parade.
This program is about the great emigration from Norway to America from 1825 up to the First World War. It consists of a lecture along with a power point program with 140 photographs and lasts about one hour.
This mass emigration has dimensions that only a few are aware of today. More than 800,000 from a population of two million left Norway. Today there are approximately as many Americans of Norwegian origin in the USA as there are inhabitants in Norway.
Tofte is a Norwegian actor, who, despite his 77 years, still works continuously in theater and films. In the last several years, he has had roles at the National Theater in Oslo. In 2001 he also had a part, in French, in "La dame aux camellias," at one of the most prominent theaters in Paris.
He has an MA degree in Norwegian, English and French literature from the University of Oslo.
The Syttende Mai committee recently learned that several of his relatives from Norway as well as relatives from across the US plan to be with him in Milan to participate in the Syttende Mai celebration.
There will be two authors present to sign and sell their recently published books. Both authors, Sue Gee and Susan Jurgens Kammen, have their roots in Milan. One of the books is illustrated by Jack Olson, a 14-year-old artist, who resides in Milan. There are many other activities that will be held in Milan during their celebration. The day-long events, from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, include a parade, music on two stages, various arts crafts and food on Main Street, a Norwegian church service at 9:30 and a Smorgaas Tea from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Kviteseid Lutheran Church.