The beloved Viking Fest is returning to Bay Ridge for its 18th year on May 19 at Owl’s Head Park, 68th Street and Colonial Road.
The festival is sponsored by the Scandinavia East Coast Museum (SECM) with the goal of celebrating Norwegian culture through a variety of entertainment geared towards children and families. The festival also helps generate interest for the 66th Annual Norwegian Day Parade which takes place the following day.
SECM President Victoria Hofmo believes that Norwegians made a lasting impact on Brooklyn and New York.
“The first Norwegian we know to have visited Bay Ridge was Jens Munk, a 14-year-old from Arendal, Norway who sailed through the Narrows on Henry Hudson’s boat. Scandinavians have been settling in Bay Ridge ever since,” Hofmo said. “Their impact on Brooklyn’s maritime history is tremendous and the catalyst for New York becoming such an important city. Even our name, New York, comes from the Viking town of Jorvik in England.”
Those in attendance can expect a plethora of authentic food along with music and dance that embody the Norwegian heritage. For the first time, there will be a Festooned Facial Hair Contest in which various prizes will be awarded to men and women who have the best “Viking style facial hair.”
From 10 a.m. to noon, students can participate in an educational scavenger hunt which will allow them to explore the displays and demos put on by two reenactment organizations, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and Historic Arms. At this time as well visitors can roam the Viking Village and watch the NYC Heathens share a traditional Norse ritual. For the Heathens, the performance marks their first time at Viking Fest.
Additionally, there will be performances starting at noon by Ellen Lindstrom playing the accordion, Narrows Community Theater, Clann Eireann Pipers, the Donny Golden School of Irish Dance, and Young Dancers in Repertory. D.J. Sean will be at the festival to play a variety of Scandinavian music.
Hofmo, along with the many planners and sponsors of Viking Fest, are very enthusiastic for Saturday’s events. “I am very excited about what we are adding this year,” she told this paper. “Sean Le Fleur, our ethnic DJ, loves to discover and share traditional and contemporary music. He will lead a sing-a-long from ‘Frozen’ for the kids and the adults.”
Viking Fest will be held 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.