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A herd of wild horses

Leave it to some proud Swedish Americans to create the world's largest (and probably only) herd of wild Dala horses. Come find them during Svensk Hyllningsfest, October 13-14, 2017


In Chicago it was fiberglass Cows on Parade and in Milwaukee it was the Beastie Beat. These 3-dimensional “life sized” symbols of their cities were pieces of public art that became icons in their own right, projects that raised money for the arts. A little further south and west, in Lindsborg, Kansas, folks recognized the power in their town icon and wanted a fun project to celebrate it. And in 2000 the Wild Dala Herd was created.
Lindsborg, AKA Little Sweden USA, already had more than one Dalahäst (horse) in town, and the planners — who called themselves the Dala Wranglers — hoped for a total of about 10 large horses in the herd of Dalahästs scattered about the business district.

Over the course of the next decade, the herd grew. National publications reported on it, and Swedish media shared the news of the pop-art horses in the United States. In 2016, the thirty-third member of the herd was unveiled in downtown Lindsborg. Number 34 is in the works, to be unveiled later this year, and number 35 is already queued up for Lindsborg’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019.

The Dala herd is meant to be a fun, permanent display; there are no plans to auction off the horses as was done in Chicago. Each horse except one is molded from fiberglass made in Ohio for a cost of $2500, and a local artist is paid $500 to paint it. After hours of research and creative planning, the artist paints and finishes the horse with a protective outdoor varnish to shield the coat from the unpredictable Kansas weather. Each time a new Wild Dala is revealed there is a presentation of street theatre, script and song by local volunteers and personalities, and the public is always welcome to join in.

The one non-fiberglass Dala is Queen Katarina Ditto — she was the first horse and is made of wood (weighing over 300 pounds) and is considered the mother of all the horses; the rest are her "dittos." Most of the horse names feature fun wordplay, such as Salvador Dala, Uppsadala and Blue Colla Dala. Lindsborg has a vital artist community, so the horses can be very creative but all concentrate on blending the past with modern life of Lindsborg.

The Wild Dala herd was also given the distinction as one of the "8 Wonders of Kansas Culture" by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. Lindsborgians have just as much fun with the Wild Dalas as tourists do, and residents are happy to take visitors' photos with them — that is, if anyone can catch them.

Come find the herd of Wild Dala Horses during Svensk Hyllningsfest during the weekend of October 13-14. Here's more http://www.svenskhyllningsfest.org


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