The American Swedish Historical Museum’s annual crayfish party
By Joseph Myers
Many people are already penning eulogies for the summer, but as far as Jennie Skynäs is concerned, plenty of opportunities remain for folks to enjoy the season. Come Friday, the marketing assistant for the American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Ave., will be reveling with seafood buffs thanks to the site’s annual crayfish celebration.
“It’s one such gathering that is so, so very Swedish,” the native of the Nordic land said. “Therefore, it’s pretty exciting to use the upcoming event as a way to show pride in our culture.”
From 6:30 until 10 p.m., attendees at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park-situated venue will feast on the evening’s titular crustacean, cheese, potatoes, crispbread, meatballs, and cheese pie, with Aquavit—a beloved Scandinavian spirit—to wet whistles. Through its partnership with the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce-Philadelphia, the museum is holding the feast under a decorated tent. Friday’s forecast is calling for delightful temperatures, so Skynäs trusts that the night will prove another pleasant reminder of the joys of summer.
“Crayfish parties are always fun back in Sweden, so for anyone of Swedish heritage who longs for maintaining that connection, and for people who want to pick up some education on what it means to be Swedish, this will be a great way to do so,” she said.
As the museum notes on its events page, Swedes generally hold crayfish parties in August, owing to their country’s tradition of having limited the crayfish harvest to the latter part of the summer. Regardless of the time of year during which they occur, though, the festivities always go swimmingly, Skynäs said, because of an abundance of levity that typically includes lively conversations and excellent libations.
“Just trying crayfish, for those who have not done so, is an experience because I’ll say it’s an acquired taste,” the intern noted. “If we do our jobs well come Friday, it won’t take long for people to see what a treat it is, though.”
Along with this week’s commemoration, the museum will school youngsters on the denizens of the deep at the August 20 Toddler Time crayfish party.
“We have a very rich history in every area,” Skynäs, already eager for the museum’s Christmas programming, said. “Celebrating whatever you’re renowned for should be something that gives you joy. That’s going to continue to be the case for us no matter what we do here.”
Tickets: $50 member / $60 non-member
American Swedish Historical Museum
1900 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145