• 61°

Thorsby’s annual Swedish Fest getting international exposure

The committee responsible for planning Thorsby’s Swedish Fest met yesterday with Steve Vassallo, regional president of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce.

The SACC, founded in 1906, is the oldest organization of its kind and includes 19 regional chambers around the nation. Vassallo is over the South-Central U.S. region, which covers five states.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” Vassallo said. “This is one of the few communities in a five-state region that hosts a Swedish festival. It’s quite unique.”

The point of yesterday’s meeting was to discuss how the SACC could help the town bring more Swedish flare and content to its annual festival.

“We may be too close to this year’s festival to really see the benefits, but by next year I think we should be able to experience the advantages of establishing a connection with this organization,” Committee chairperson Tracia Bussey said.

Vassallo made a special trip to Thorsby yesterday and met with the committee at Helen Jenkins Chapel. After the meeting, the committee treated him to dinner.

Bussey has made other contacts in Madison, Miss., which is where the South-Central U.S. division of the SACC is located.

“I spoke with the Madison mayor, who told me that the town’s connection with Mr. Vassallo was beneficial in helping them experience the growth they have had over the past few years,” she said.

Bussey has been accepted as a board member of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce. She is one of four people to represent Alabama in the organization.