Bay Ridge’s Viking Fest celebrates sweet 16

The Vikings are rowing into Bay Ridge for the 16th year.

An annual celebration of Viking culture in Bay Ridge, the Viking Fest will take place on Saturday, May 14, starting at 10 a.m. at Owl’s Head Park, Colonial Road and 68th Street, promising a day of exploring the history and continued culture of the near-mythical Scandinavian seafarers.

“There’s a lot of Norwegian history here,” said Scandinavian East Coast Museum (SECM) President Victoria Hofmo. “People don’t realize how much they’ve done.”

“The Viking Fest has become more of a cultural learning experience that people can experience with dance and food, things like that,” added Norwegian American 17th of May Parade Committee of Greater New York Co-Chair Arlene Rutuelo, comparing the event to the Norwegian American 17th of May Parade. “It’s more concentrated over a six or seven-hour period.”

Presented by SECM, the event will offer visitors a slew of food, drinks, games and activities, and display the specialties of of local and visiting musicians, artists, and community organizations.
The festival is expected to open with entry to the Viking Village at 10 a.m. The Leif Ericson Society International will be bringing the Norseman, the half-size Viking ship replica to the festival, along with the ship’s crew. Viking reenactors from Historic Arms, Medieval Scenarios & Recreations and the Society For Creative Anachronism will perform weapons shows in the Viking Village during the festival, and will remain at the event for the day.

Hofmo told The Home Reporter that there would be a raffle at the event with the winning child allowed to ride on a float during the parade the following day.

In addition, there will be musical performances, including one from Swede Anna Gustavsson, who will be playing the Nyckelharpa, a Swedish instrument similar to a violin, as well as the bagpipe musicians of the Clann Eireann Irish Pipe Band Inc., and Bay Ridge’s own Scandinavian-American musical quintet, The Swedish Meatballs.

The festival is set to be followed up by the 64th Annual Norwegian Constitution Day Parade the following afternoon, a parade expected to draw over 100,000 visitors along its route.

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