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Calendar >  The Viking Festival – A Walk Back Into History

The Viking Festival – A Walk Back Into History

By   /  September 30, 2014  /  No Comments


By Pat Murphy…This past weekend (9-27 & 9-28) I went to the Viking festival being held at Norway Hall, 2006 E. Vista Way, in Vista. This event was sponsored by the Norwegian Fish Club Odin and the Sons of Norway.   http://www.vistavikingfestival.com/

Helping to create this tribute to Viking and Norwegian culture were Performance guilds: Brandenburg, Drafn, Guardians of Midgard, The Adrian Empire Raiders from the North, Vestrfolk,  and Wolves Ov Odin.

There was so much going on it was mind boggling. You could learn to throw an axe or spear, try archery, or sign up for contests at the Weapons Range of the “Raiders from the North”.  Viking Log Toss, Famous Fish Fling, “Fear the Beard” contest, Battle Cry competition, or Horn Blowing Competition were just a few of the events you could take part in.  Demos of Rosemaling, spinning and genealogy were also to be found.


There was live Viking/Celtic style music on two stages.  The So Cal Damekor were singing traditional songs from lands where the Vikings lived.  Stirring your Viking soul was the ancient rhythms of Odin’s Drummers! For bawdy fun there was the Bawdy Juggler.  You could also visit Viking encampments and see sword battles. I didn’t stay late enough but at night the flaming axes were supposed to be flying thru the air.

The food smells were attacking my olfactory senses as soon as we walked through the main gate. People were feasting on Nordic food like Krumcake, Swedish Meatballs, Lefse (prepared on special lefse griddles and turned with a long lefse stick, this paper-thin potato bread is best served warm with butter and sugar)  and Cevapi (a meat and onion sausage). They were also quenching their thirst with non-alcoholic beverages and ale or mead, some of which was brewed exclusively for this festival.

The KidZone was offering wooden shields and sword painting, jumping in the Bouncy Castle, Face Painting, Rune Quest and more.  For the Rune Quest the young explorers and adventurers went around looking for Rune signs that were located at tables and booths in all the different areas. When they found a Rune sign they were challenged to decode it and receive a stamp of completion on their paper.





The Vendors’ Village was a marketplace for helmets, drinking horns and mugs, swords, woodcarvings, Viking jewelry, Body art and Valkyrie attire. In the shady Northern Territory, along Peddlers’ Path, you could see Vikings casting pewter, yarn dying, weaving and baking bread in clay ovens. You could also buy hair twisters, ear cuffs, and ear wraps. I liked “Almost all things Celtic” and proprietor Sabrina Kelly, www.almostallthingsceltic.com.  She had some gorgeous Celtic Knots including one she calls a Sister’s Knot that I had never before seen.

Gerry Adams and Diana Hamilton-Long, both local Vistans and members of The Adrian Empire, were a wealth of information about the Viking culture. I learned that the women literally ruled the households. It was necessary that they do so because the men would be gone for long periods of time. The women were well treated partially because of the social power they welded and partially because they were empowered to divorce a man who abused them. All they had to do was post a notice. No lawyers were involved or needed for the woman to be awarded half of everything.

The wooden combs that I had seen hanging from the necks of Viking warriors were a must for these giants among men. They were fastidious in their grooming and kept their long hair tangle free with the wooden combs. The women would shampoo the long hair and trim the massive beards of their men. Did you know that Vikings had no pockets in their clothes? The women’s dresses had straps that went over their shoulders from back to front and were fastened there with brooches. From these brooches they hung important items like the key to the larder or the small spoon they used to clean the earwax out of their Viking husbands ears.

The Adrian Empire, http://www.adrianempire.org/ is a Non-profit educational organization that re-creates history 1066-1603 AD by exploring lifestyles and societies of the period referred to as the Age of Chivalry. The members work to re-create the arts, skills, and culture of this range of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The Empire is led by an Emperor and/or Empress who “rule” the Empire and the Imperial Government. Adrians strive to re-create various historical arts and sciences. They research and reproduce objects that existed in period, using period construction techniques whenever possible. They also hold regular archery tournaments in historic style and reproduce non-choreographed combat competitions in both one-on-one and group battle scenarios.

I met several Vikings. The first one I met caught my attention because she was shouting, “Weapons!” in a voice that carried over a 100 feet. She looked beautiful in a purple dress and a feathered Viking headdress. Her name is Cassandra Austri-vind and she is from nearby San Marcos. Not too far from her I met the blacksmith who only identified himself as Ed. He was working on shaping the tip of a mean looking sword. In the next lane I met Stark Oddr, a Viking revival champion of champions (alter-ego Klas Persson), who was fearsome looking as he stood by a scale model of a Viking warship.  I wouldn’t want to have to face him in battle, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stark-Oddr/579487535493622. However, the Viking that everyone wanted to be on the good side of was ODIN. This Viking warrior was everywhere and everyone at the festival knew him. Odin was also one of the people that had organized the festival. In addition, he had given the 4th grade class he teaches an assignment related to the festival. The students in Robert Undheim’s (his alter-ego) class had designed and constructed some very sharp looking banners that were strung across the main pathway by the Nordic Hall. He explained that to be a member of the fraternity a person has to take (or assume) a name from Viking History or Norse Mythology. He has been involved in the festival for 12 years and with Vista USD for 25 years.

Odin also explained that the Viking Festival was a major fundraiser for the sponsoring organizations. I hope they made a boat load of money because they were providing a wealth of living history to over 6000 attendees. Most of the people I saw were families. The children ranged from infants to teens. They were all joyfully enjoying the culture, food and games. As I was leaving I stopped and chatted with a security guard who confirmed my suspicions. He said “Everyone has been in a good mood today”.

Photos by Phillipe Carre       www.bountyphotographie.com


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