Time-Honored Rochester Festival ‘Swede Day’ Returns

Tradition: Event to Feature Parade With Longtime Community Member Barbara Munsell Serving as Grand Marshal


Rochester’s Swede Day is back this year for its 41st anniversary. The festival, organized by the Grand Mound Rochester Citizens Group, is an important cultural tradition for Rochester. First created to honor the Swedish heritage of some of the town’s earliest members, it takes on more meaning and more events every year.

Swede Day is truly an intersection for the multiple generations of the area. There will be a focus on the future, through scholarships for Rochester students on the Swede Day Royalty Court and the Rochester Scholarship Association 5K Warrior Run. And there will be honor given to accomplishments past and pending, through the appointment of a grand marshal.

The full docket of Swede Day events will begin at 6 p.m. on June 18 and run through June 19.


Swede Day Coronation

Coronation for the Swede Day Court will commence at 6 p.m. on June 18 in Swede Hall at 18543 Albany St. SW, Rochester. Entry costs $1 and includes a strawberry dessert and Swede Day Button, or $3 for the dessert and a keychain.

The 2021 Swede Day grand marshal is Barbara Munsell. A long-time Rochester resident, she will retire from the Rochester School District this June after 32 years of service.

Munsell is a member of the Rochester School District Levy Committee, the Rochester Water Association Board and the Rochester Education Support Personnel. She is the secretary and treasurer for the Rochester High School Alumni Association and the Historic Gate Schoolhouse Community Club. Munsell was also a founding member of the Rochester Parent-Teacher Association in 1984.

“I only agreed to be grand marshal so that I could thank my family, friends, teachers and other mentors in my life who helped make me the best person that I could become,” Munsell said in a news release from the Grand Mound Rochester Citizens Group.

Besides the grand marshal, Swede Day Court consists of three members of the 11th grade class of Rochester High School. This year, the students are Amerika Jones, Hannah Rodeheaver and Brisa Ramirez. The court is chosen based on academic achievement, community involvement and verbal and written presentation skills. Over the summer, court members will represent Rochester in surrounding community parades. During next year’s coronation, the students will receive scholarship funds toward the college of their choosing, according to the release.

Swede Day

A shuttle provided by First Student will run along the parade route to Swede Hall throughout the day. Parade attendees can park their vehicles near the start of the parade and still receive transportation to and from the hall before and after lunch. Wherever it is safe to do so, the shuttle will stop for anyone who flags it down for a ride.

• 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. — American Legion pancake breakfast. Breakfasts are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3 through 10, $7 for seniors age 55 and up, $25 for a family of up to five members and free for veterans and children under age 2.

• 8 a.m. — Rochester Scholarship Association 5K run starting at Swede Hall. Sign up at 7:30 a.m.

• 11 a.m. — The parade will begin at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Paulson Street, turn on Albany Street and end at Swede Hall.

This portion of the highway will be closed from about 10:30 a.m. until the end of the parade at approximately 12:30 p.m. Traffic through the town will be detoured. 

• 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Lunch at Swede Hall. A traditional Swedish meal including Swedish meatballs, potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, bread, a drink and strawberry dessert. A large meal costs $8 and includes five meatballs, and a small meal with three meatballs costs $5. Strawberry desserts alone can be purchased for $2.

Hamburgers, hot dogs or bratwurst meals including chips and a drink will also be available for $5 each.

Read more about the Grand Mound Rochester Citizens group at rochestercitizensgroupswedehall.net.