Danish Festival 50th Anniversary

DF 50th

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Danish Festival in Greenville, MI.  The festival’s mission is to celebrate the homecoming of family and friends and Greenville’s Danish heritage. The Danish Festival has grown exponentially throughout the years and now draws over 80,000 people annually. The festival traces its roots back to 1964, when a contest was held to come up with an idea to promote the town of Greenville. The winning idea, from Dorothy Oliver, was that a day be set aside to honor Greenville’s Danish heritage. Thus, the Danish Festival was born, and the first festival was held on August 18, 1965.

About the Danish Festival

Danish Festival mural

Each year the festival has a theme, based on a Danish fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen.  2014’s theme is ‘The Red Shoes’.  The annual theme is represented in a poster contest, parades (Grand Dansk Parade, Fairytale Parade, and Fireman’s Parade), as a play at the Greenville Community Center, and as a mural hand painted on the side of a business in downtown Greenville.

In addition to the annual Danish Festival theme, thousands come to enjoy the traditional Danish treat of Aebleskivers! Aebleskivers are pancake-like balls of dough cooked in a special aebleskiver cast iron pan, served with powdered sugar and raspberry jam.  Legend has it that after a battle and with nothing to eat, the Vikings mixed flour with milk and poured the batter into their dented shields which resulted in “bumpy pancakes” or aebleskivers.


The Danish Festival is a family friendly event, with plenty of activities for everyone. Highlights of the events being held at the Danish Festivals 50th Anniversary include:

  • Danish Festival Open Air Breakfast – Official Annual Kick-Off Event
  • Unveiling of the Danish Festival Mural
  • Danish Festival Queen’s Pageant and Prince & Princess
  • Danish Festival Young Miss and Jr. Miss Pageant
  • Daily Hot Air Balloon Flights
  • Greenville Glows – Hot Air Balloon Illumination
  • A Fireworks Celebration
  • Lake of Illumination at Baldwin Lake
  • Daily Stage Performances
  • Arts & Crafts Fair Downtown
  • Used Books and Bake Sale
  • Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Parade
  • “Princess and the Pea” Bed Race
  • Auto Shows
  • Fireman’s Parade
  • Grand Dansk Parade
  • Han’s Christian Anderson Theater at the Greenville Community Center
  • Art @ the Green – Publicly Voted on Art Contest
  • Nightly Concerts
  • Softball Tournament
  • Danish Family Fun Day

For a full schedule of events or for more information on the Danish Festival, please visit http://www.danishfestival.org

Please join us in congratulating the Danish Festival on their 50th Anniversary!