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For the 15th year, Viking Fest invades Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge is filled with storied traditions, and one of the neighborhood’s more popular ones is the Annual Viking Fest, which will once again be held at Owl’s Head Park, 68th Street and Narrows Avenue on Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This is a big year for us. It’s the festival’s 15th anniversary,” said Vitoria Hofmo, president of Scandinavian East Coast Museum (SECM). “We are going to have Viking ships and three reenactment organizations.” Those groups include the Society for Creative Anachronism, Historic Arms and newcomer Medieval Scenarios and Recreation (MSR).

Like last year, Viking Fest will commence a bit earlier than previous years. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. with the popular “Viking Village Scavenger Hunt,” in which kids and adults can pick up a Viking Treasure Trove Map, with winners receiving a Viking Tattoo.  There will also be Scandinavian and American food.

As the years go by, attendance has grown. “More people are coming from outside the city,” Hofmo said, with some coming from as far away as Norway to enjoy the festivities, including the 17th of May Parade which always takes place the day after Viking Fest. “People from all over country come. It’s become so nice to share that with some many people. It’s such a different experience with other parades.”

Another popular feature are the “Touched By the Vikings” performances featuring music and dance from cultures that have a connection to the Vikings, include performers Ellen Lindstrom on accordion, the Clann Eirann Pipers, the Donny Golden School of Step Dance,  and Young Dancers in Repertory, as well as others.

“Every year, the event grows,” noted board member of SECM Arlene Rutuelo. “Lots of Scandinavians have moved out, but the second generation is still here,” she said. “It’s going to a fun filled day for kids and family.”

Rutuelo also discussed the day’s significance. “It’s a reminder for the community that we are diverse,” she said. “We try our best to educate the area about Norwegian history. We showcase culture diversity. It makes the community stronger. It helps us all respect each other more.“

For more information on the festivities, visit www.scandinavian-museum.org.

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