Descendants of Lutheran immigrants known as the Happy Danes have preserved their joyous spirit. They gather each August at the last of the Danish folk schools in America, kept alive by Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler, Minn.
"We're keeping Grundtvig alive," said Margie Bornhoft, an organizer of Danebod's folk gathering. She is referring to N.F.S. Grundtvig, the father of the Danish folk high schools built in the late 1800s. While Swedish and Norwegian immigrants built academic institutions, the Danes emphasized folk schools to deepen the understanding of life and enhance the ability of youth to cope with the challenges of a new world.
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