If you love Syttende Mai too much to contain your Norwegian heritage celebrations to one day, or if you’re not Norwegian but want to experience the country’s culture and history, with a taste of other cultures as well, we have a treat for you!
The popular Bay Ridge tradition of Viking Fest is back and will be held this year on May 18 at Owl’s Head Park, 68th Street and Colonial Road. It begins at 11:30 a.m., a half hour earlier than originally scheduled, so be warned!
The reason for the early start is that the event has become so popular that another group was added to the line-up after the original schedule was released. The Alta Chamber Choir (Alta Kammerkor) will be performing now in addition to the Lista Trekkspillklubb Accordion Club, Clann Eirann Pipers, Donny Golden Irish Step Dancers, Kellevik Mannskor and Young Dancers in Repertory.
There will also be games, re-enactors and a replica of a Viking ship, the Norseman.
Started in 2001, this event that is sponsored by The Scandinavian East Coast Museum continues to grow in size and popularity each year. This year, the Brooklyn Arts Council got involved and was helpful in providing even more publicity and outreach.
According to coordinator Victoria Hofmo, however, the event has gotten extremely popular through word of mouth, too.
“I was at the gym the other day and a woman was talking to me about the Viking Fest and how excited she was about it, but she didn’t even realize it was my event!” Hofmo said.
She also stated that she believes the event has become so important to the community because Norwegians love having a reason to celebrate their heritage. The parades in Norway are much smaller than the festivities here, so Europeans are coming to the United States to celebrate in a big way, Hofmo added.
This event has been scheduled to coincide with the Norwegian Constitution Day celebrations happening in Bay Ridge, with the holiday itself on May 17 and the parade taking place on May 19.