Denmark’s flag may be red and white, but come 4 July, the country’s northern Ribild region proudly flies the red, white and blue in honour of America’s Independence Day and the historical ties between the two countries.
National Park has been holding the largest Fourth of July celebration
outside of the United States since 1912. The park’s 200 acres were purchased by
a group of Danish Americans in 1911 and were deeded to the King and country in
1912 as a permanent memorial to all Danish Americans. As conditions of the gift, the park had to
remain undeveloped, open to the public and available as a space to celebrate
Rebildfesten, a Fourth of July celebration, is by far the
most popular holiday that takes place in the national park, commemorating American
independence as well as Danish heritage. The food, music and entertainment starts 2 July, but the main event on 4
July includes a 3km parade from the Skørping train station to the park’s Rebild
Hills. Following lunch, the celebrations continue with American and Danish
speakers (this year will feature American actor Keith Carradine, great-grandson
of one of the park’s original founders, and Danish prime minister Helle
Thorning-Schmidt) and a concert by the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, featuring a
mix of music from both nations. In honour of the 100th anniversary of the festival, both the Danish
queen and princess will attend for the first time since 2002.
Tickets to the afternoon celebration cost 120 Danish krone, but the fee
also covers a morning open air church service, a festival for families and admission
to the Lincoln Log Cabin, a cedar log cabin within the park that serves as a
museum for the history of the Danish emigrant experience.