Children age 11 or younger will be admitted for free when the family friendly Scandinavian Festival returns to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks on April 18-19.

Organizers are eliminating the fee for young children and keeping the price at $5 for visitors age 12 or older because of increased economic challenges residents are facing.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days with food, entertainment and demonstrations highlighting the Nordic cultures of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

The 2009 festival will offer more activities for children including crafts, drama and storytelling. It will open with a colorful parade of flags featuring Scandinavian dignitaries and Old World costumes and continue with music, dancing and lectures. A soccer clinic and Scandinavian worship service will be held. Visitors can also explore Viking and Sami villages, and exhibits on the Nobel and Kavli prizes. Shoppers will be able to choose from a variety of Scandinavian handicrafts and a smorgasbord of Nordic delicacies.

A Swedish-American professor and Norwegian-American administrator started the festival 35 years ago to showcase Scandinavian culture and the CLU campus. The university’s founding in 1959 had been the dream of Scandinavian immigrants, and it was built on land provided by the son of Norwegian pioneers. The cultural celebration has expanded from 600 participants at the inaugural event to more than 6,000 visitors last year.

Click here or e-mail for more information.

Karin Grennan is California Lutheran University‘s media relations coordinator.