Nordic Heritage Museum runs like a Viking
Viking Days transforms Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum into a beer garden, craft fair, Nordic food hall, concert venue, and Viking encampment
Nordic Heritage Museum
Viking Days brought thousands of visitors to the Nordic Heritage Museum on Saturday, August 16 and Sunday, August 17. The 31st annual event featured dozens of knowledgeable Viking re-enactors who told stories, sold wares, and dazzled aspiring-Vikings of all ages in combat demonstrations. The re-enactors also demonstrated daily activities, including cooking fish and flatbread on an open fire. Other volunteers and vendors showed off Nordic wood carving, spinning wool for weaving, and Norwegian rosemaling, a style of wood painting that can be seen on many objects in the Nordic Heritage Museum.
Saturday kicked off with a brand new Viking Days event: the inaugural Run Like a Viking 5K. Runners and walkers of all ages stormed the race course at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, not far from the Museum grounds. Best times went to Tom Roth, who completed the race in 19:39, Jeffrey Aggas who completed the race in 21:29, and Laurent Bertat, who completed the race in 22:04. Best times in the female division went to Megan Fix, who completed the race in 25:44; Alison Mondi, who completed the race in 25:58; and Luciana Linhares, who completed the race in 26:26. The rest of the race completion times can be found at www.nordicmuseum.org/Viking5k.aspx. Race winner Tom Roth, who does not live in Seattle, gifted his first place award of a massage at Trilogy Chiropractic to the oldest registered race participant, 79 year old David Danbom. The award for best costume went to Maxwell Perry, who walked the race in sandals, a horned helmet, and 35 pounds of metal armor. He completed the course in 1:02:30. Following the race, many of the participants went to the Nordic Heritage Museum to enjoy the rest of the Viking Days activities.
Both Saturday and Sunday began with a Swedish pancake breakfast. Over the two days hundreds of pancake breakfasts were served. Through the weekend, foods from all five of the Nordic countries were featured, including Danish æbleskiver, Icelandic klinur, Finnish sima, Norwegian lefse, and of course, Swedish meatballs. Saturday evening concluded with a Salmon BBQ, complete with performances by local bands Psychedelephant and The Hoot Hoots in the Valhalla Beer Garden. Valhalla was busy all weekend selling beers from Odin and Carlsberg, as well as five different small-batch Nordic craft beers home-brewed by the Museum! Valhalla also sold a variety of flavors of aquavit by The Old Ballard Liquor Co. in commemorative shot glasses. The lucky tickets were pulled on Sunday afternoon. Jane Frol won two round-trip tickets aboard Icelandair; Betty Rosenau won two round trip tickets on a Victoria Clipper with a one night stay in the Gatsby Mansion; beloved long-time Nordic Heritage Museum volunteer Barbra Paquette won a one night stay at Hotel Ändra; Marjorie Palek won two passes to the Columbia River Maritime Museum; Lynn Johansson won a Family Membership to the Nordic Heritage Museum; and Jenny Tenlen won a $50 gift certificate to Eat Ballard from iloveseattle.org.
Other highlights of Viking Days included crafts for kids, a variety of fantastic Nordic-themed vendors, and of course, free admission to the Museum, where visitors enjoyed both the permanent exhibitions and the temporary exhibition Danish Modern: Design for Living.
This article originally appeared in the Aug. 29, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.