The Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast returns for its 31st year on November 24th. This annual event, which is held at the Doubletree by Hilton in Bloomington, brings together people of Nordic heritage in a celebration of thankfulness for the privileges of freedom, faith, family and friends. This year’s breakfast includes three extraordinary speakers from the community who will discuss their experiences and personal feelings on each of these topics.

First, Reverend Mark Hanson, the former Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will speak on the topic of Faith. During his years as the Bishop, Reverend Hanson became widely known as a leader with passion and imagination who was respected by Christians of many denominations, as well as Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists. He now works with Augsburg College where he leads national and international initiatives to advance interfaith dialogue and inspire peacemaking.

Next, the topic of Family and Friends will be led by an equally qualified speaker. Ford Bell, former President of the American Alliance of Museums, has more than 30 years’ experience as a nonprofit executive, board chair, donor, trustee, educator and scientist. Above all, he is a dedicated public servant devoted to strengthening the community.

Finally, Gina Torry, the newly appointed Nobel Peace Prize Forum Executive Director, will speak on the topic of freedom. This is a topic of significance for Torry, who is recognized as an international peace-building expert and has experience working with international mediators having served as the Executive Director of the Peace Research Endowment.

Shepherding the audience throughout the morning will be Minnesota’s own Don Shelby, former WCCO anchor, serving as Master of Ceremonies. In addition, the Bethel University Chorus (St. Paul) is providing this year’s choral contributions. In addition, Danish-American Soprano Taylor Ann Grand will lead the audience in a rousing group sing-along.

In addition to being a celebration of thankfulness, the Nordic American Thanksgiving Breakfast is a charitable event that supports two non-profits from the local community. This year, the recipients of attendee donations will be the Minnesota Military Family Foundation and Second Harvest Heartland. To learn more about these two charities you can visit them on the web at: and

Tickets for this year’s event are $25 per person or $250 per 10-person reserved table and are available from Sons of Norway by purchasing them online here or by calling (612) 821-4640. Tickets for the event must be purchased by November 19.