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ACHF Arts Access ACHF Cultural Heritage
The goal of Julebyen is to provide a family-centered Christmas festival, free to the public, in the centuries-old tradition of the Scandinavian Julebyen, which promotes appreciation for Scandinavian music, food, holiday crafts and culture. Approximately 200 volunteers make Julebyen possible. The number of volunteers has grown every year. Attendance is another yardstick of success of Julebyen In 2013, its inaugural years, approximately 700 people attended. This number doubled in 2014 and doubled again in 2015 to 3,000 over Julebyen weekend. We measure outcomes by increase in: (1) attendance (Julebyen has doubled its festival goers yearly since its inaugural in 2013. Estimated attendance in 2015 was 3,000. (2) number of volunteers - 190 in 2015, (3) by increases in commercial sponsors and partners; most recently the North Shore Scenic Railroad donates a train to bring festival-goers from Duluth and return (4) media coverage (in 2015, Norwegian National Broadcasting sent a reporter and videographer from Norway to report on the Knife River Julebyen. The five minute feature that followed was aired to more than 3.5 million Norwegians in news broadcasts (5) in the growth of its outreach program to underserved children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Duluth and Superior. The privately-funded outreach pays the train fares and meal expenses for children to attend Julebyen. In 2015, 39 children with chaperones were able to experience a family-centered Christmas experience at no cost that featured games, craft making workshop where children can make a holiday gift, a treasure hunt, skating, sliding, storytelling. Key to the growth of Julebyen is (1) our ability to attract and retain more volunteers and (2) continued support from outside partners to keep Julebyen free to the public. The support we request is to help cover the cost of entertainment, which has been selected to enhance and tie to the theme of Julebyen.
Attendance increased from an estimated 3,000 in 2015 to estimated 3,500 - 4,500 in 2016. The increase can be attributed to, in part, extending the festival to three days. Train ridership between those traveling to Julebyen and return from Duluth, and two Troll Train trips, increased from 149 riders in 2015 to more than 400 in 2016. We received many favorable comments on our talent, in particular the puppeteer. The event was a terrific success, both from perspective of the volunteers and comments received from attendees.
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