Iceland Day will be celebrated Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Spanish Fork City Park with visits from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve and Icelandic ambassador Einar Benediktsson.
David Ashby, president of the Icelandic Association, said the committee did not know the two would be part of the celebration until a month ago."It just kind of came together all of a sudden," he said.
Elder Wirthlin and the ambassador will be featured speakers at the Iceland Day program Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Benediktsson arrived in Utah on Thursday. He toured Brigham Young University and Salt Lake City and met with the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Dan Geslison, publicity director for the Icelandic Association, said the ambassador came to Utah especially for Iceland Day and is interested in meeting descendants of the Icelandic settlers. He said the settlers came to Utah 140 years ago and then settled in Spanish Fork at the direction of Brigham Young.
"People don't usually associate Spanish Fork with the Icelandic community," he said.
But, Geslison said, many still feel ties to Iceland. Geslison's father, Byron, received the Order of the Falcon award from Iceland a few years ago. The award recognizes those who have made great contributions to the country.
Iceland Day activities include:
- At 8:30 a.m. participants can register and get their Icelandic treat, pancakes.
- From 9-9:30 a.m. a reception will be held for special guests, including Elder Wirthlin, Bendiktsson, Mayor Marie Huff, Phyllis Ashby, Geslison and David Ashby.
- The Iceland Day program will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and remarks by Elder Wirthlin and Bendiktsson.
- The group "Fire on the Mountain" will perform at 10:15 a.m.
- At 11:00 a.m. the Icelandic Heritage Award will be given to Phyllis Ashby.
After the program, all are invited to enjoy the afternoon at the park. Exhibits of the city's history and Icelandic roots will be displayed.