Viking Fest returns to Bay Ridge

Norwegian pride remains strong in Bay Ridge. That excitement is evident during the annual Viking Fest, hosted by the Scandinavian East Coast Museum (SECM). Started in 2001, the jam-packed event will once again be held at Owl’s Head Park, 68th Street and Narrows Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s a great way to celebrate Scandinavian heritage in Brooklyn here for 400 years,” said Victoria Hofmo, president of SECM. “A few thousand people come from different backgrounds and age groups. It’s a fun event.”

“It’s a great day to learn about Norway and Norwegian roots and part of New York really good day,” added Arlene Rutuelo, president of the Norwegian American 17th of May Committee of Greater New York.

Some of the highlights will include performances from Norwegian bands, rides for the children, Viking replica ship the Norseman, food and along with re-enactments from the Society for Creative Anachronism and Historic Arms. During the event, the Scandinavian of the Year will also be announced.

“It’s an interesting way to celebrate culture in New York. If we all shared our cultures and listened to each other music, there would be less fighting going on,” stressed Hofmo.

The event caters to all ages, but does include a focus on children. “Everything is free for the Viking event. We are to get kids treasure trove maps with questions,” said Hofmo. “We are building strong foundations. This year, we had an essay contest.”

Kids from P.S. 176, who submitted the work, are playing an integral part of the day, something that delights Hofmo.

The event also includes performances called “Touched by the Vikings,” featuring music and dance from cultures that have a connection to the Vikings.

Though the day celebrates Norwegian pride, it is a day designed for people of all cultural backgrounds. “We are welcoming everyone to come out and enjoy the day. You don’t have to be Norwegian. We want more people to learn culture and make sure everyone is welcome,” said Arlene Rutuelo.

The event is co-sponsored by Councilmember Vincent Gentile, the Norwegian Consulate in New York, the 17th of May Committee and the Bay Ridge Baptist Church. The Brooklyn Arts Council is also contributing to the event. For more information, call 718-748-5950 or email scandia36@optonline.net.

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