Battlegrounds and braids: Viking festival in Bay Ridge spreads culture, combat

Brooklyn’s Scandinavian population is raiding Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge for the annual Viking Fest…

Story by Colin Mixson - Source:
Photo ©  Peter Milo

Modern raiders: “Vikings” John Wendell and Bob Carlsen showed off their roots with their motley Norse regalia at Viking Fest 2011. Photo © Peter Milo

They’re coming!

Brooklyn’s Scandinavian population is raiding Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge for the annual Viking Fest, where — instead of conquering hapless nations — they come bearing crafts, tales, songs, and mock battles to the delight of a Kings County Audience.

“The Viking Fest is really very pleasant and it changes every year,” said Victoria Hofmo, president and founder of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum.

“We’re hoping people will go there and learn about the connection between the Vikings and other cultures.”

The annual Norwegian festival is a very sweet and charming affair, and patrons will indeed learn about the Norse influence on world culture.

But they’ll also learn about combat and glorious battle thanks to the grizzled war reenactors from Historic Arms and the Society for Creative Anachronism.

“They both do combat,” said Hofmo.

“But the Society for Creative Anachronism also provides demonstrations on the types of food they ate, tapestry weaving, embroidery, and everyday life kind of things.”

Visitors at the festival will also have a chance to see a scale recreation of an authentic Viking long boat, an amazing piece of medieval technology that allowed the Vikings to run amok in Europe — when they weren’t eating or weaving tapestry.

“I believe it’s sea worthy, but it comes by road,” said Hofmo,

There will be many other glorious attractions, although slightly less glorious than battle, including this year’s choice of Scandinavian of the Year, fun games such as the Race of the Viking Gods, and music courtesy of the Hellevik Mannskor men’s choir straight out of Norway with their latest Viking hits.

Viking Fest 2013 at Owls Head Park [68th Street and Colonial Road, (718) 748–]. May 18, 11:30 am, Free.

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