Brooklynites are gearing up for a beloved fest.
For the 17th year, Viking Fest is making its way back to Bay Ridge. Sponsored by the Scandinavian East Coast Museum, the fun filled day focuses on celebrating the history of Norwegian culture through entertainment, especially for children and families. It also helps generate excitement for the 65th Norwegian Day Parade, which takes place the following day.
“It’s a way for us to share and educate the larger community about history of the neighborhood and the Scandinavian community,” said Scandinavian East Coast Museum President Victoria Hofmo. “They’re overlooked and they’ve contributed greatly to this community. We want to share that and be proud. The best way to do that is to share our culture and food and that kind of thing.”
Attendees can expect authentic food, music, dance, and other performances that represent the culture. Other attractions include Norwegian rosemaling (decorative) painting demo, Scandinavian and other items for purchase and games with “Crazy Carlsen.”
“We going to build the Viking replica ship and have the reenactment group, and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., we have the treasure hunt for children,” Hofmo said. “They go and find items and learn about the culture and we give out prizes.”
The day will also feature a Viking Village, with the re-enactors slated to be in attendance throughout the day. Attendees will also see The Norseman, and the replica Viking ship’s crew.
Displays and demos will also be available, including combat from three re-enactment groups, including Historic Arms, Medieval Scenarios & Recreations and The Society For Creative Anachronism.
Then at 12 p.m., the performances begin. Ellen Lindstrom of the Swedish Meatballs, Donny Golden School of Irish Dance, Clann Eireann Pipers and Young Dancers in Repertory will all be providing entertainment for the expected large crowd.
Despite this being the 17th year the event is held, Hofmo still gets excited for the event. “I find it interesting that I was on the subway one day and someone asked me about the parade and fest and how much they enjoy it and that feels great,” she said.
“Senator Marty Golden is going to be the co-sponsor,” said Arlene Rutuelo, co-chair of the Norwegian Parade Committee. “He hasn’t been there in the past and this year he’s stepping up and helping us sponsor part of event because he also knows the importance of celebrating the culture.”
Rutuelo also wants to bring back the good old days to Bay Ridge. “We’re pointing people to the park,” she said. “If you see pictures from the 1950s of the old archives, you will see the hill filled with Norwegians sitting in the park for picnics,” she said. “We are pointing them back to the parks and celebrate culture. It’s an afternoon of fun for every age. Victoria just does a fantastic job. From games and music and some food. Its something that has taken a life of its own and people are looking forward to it.”
Viking Fest will be held on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Owl’s Head/Bliss Park, 68th Street and Colonial Road. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Scandinavian-East-Coast-Museum.