Photo originally published Sept. 12, 1982

The brand-new Metrodome was packed, and there wasn't a football in sight. This crowd — all 50,000 of them — came to soak in Scandinavian culture.

Minneapolis was one of five cities chosen to kick off the monthslong Scandinavia Today, a nationwide effort by the five Nordic countries to show Americans "the richness and variety of their cultural life." And we gave them a hero's welcome.

There were masters of ceremonies (WCCO's Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson), dignitaries from all five Nordic nations, a vice president (George H.W. Bush), keynote speakers, the University of Minnesota's concert band, dancers and many, many choirs that performed together as the World's Largest Choir.

The event was broadcast live on MPR and televised on WCCO; there was even an album.

We tried to make it a day for all to remember.

Marilyn Nelson, the state's Scandinavia Today chairwoman, said in her welcome note: "Today, Scandinavia has sent us her very best; we, in turn, pledge our very best. That ... we, the people of Minnesota, may better understand another culture and thereby better understand ourselves."

Nicole Hvidsten