Velkommen til Viking Fest! Cultural weekend May 19-21

Poulsbo’s Viking Fest is May 19-21; Bremerton’s Armed Forces Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. May 20

POULSBO — If actress Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) were to star in a film here this weekend, she might call it “My Big Fat Kitsap Weekend.”

Whether she’d ride 58 miles in the Viking Tour or compete in the lutefisk-eating competition, or wave a flag in the armed forces parade — we don’t know.

But like thousands of other visitors to Poulsbo and Bremerton, she’d enjoy the carnival, contests, live music, parades, reenactments, and other events planned over three days.

Poulsbo’s Viking Fest begins May 19 and continues through May 21.

Bremerton’s Armed Forces Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. May 20 in downtown Bremerton.

First, let’s take a look at Viking Fest.


Viking Fest is an annual celebration of Poulsbo’s Norwegian heritage — Norwegians began settling here in the 1880s, drawn by bountiful resources and surroundings similar to their native lands. Viking Fest coincides with Norway’s Constitution Day on May 17 (“Syttende mai” in Norwegian).

Carnival wrist bands are available for a discount until 11 a.m. May 19 at Safeway, 19245 10th Ave. NE, Poulsbo; and Banner Bank, 18960 Highway 305 NE, Poulsbo.

The grand marshals of the Viking Fest Parade will be Ardis Morrow, a longtime advocate for the rights of domestic violence victims and a former member of the Kingston Port Commission and North Kitsap School Board; and Bill Austin, who has spearheaded numerous beautification and restoration projects in Poulsbo.

Here’s the schedule.

MAY 19

Noon: Signups for the Donut-Eating Contest and the Lutefisk-Eating Contest begin at the information booth in Anderson Parkway. Both competitions will take place on May 21. The Donut-Eating Contest is open to amateur and competitive eaters of all ages. Prizes range from one Viking donut a month for a year, to $200 and the competitor’s name submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records. Awards will be given for first- and second-place finishers in the Lutefisk-Eating Contest.

Noon to 10 p.m.: Food and craft booths open on Anderson Parkway. Viking Village open in Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park; watch reenactors perform skills and trades from the Viking era. Food and craft booths and Viking Village will be open all three days of Viking Fest.

4-10 p.m.: Carnival opens in King Olav Parking Lot.

4–4:30 p.m.: Opening ceremony, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion. Norwegian National Anthem sung by the Sons of Norway Men’s Chorus; U.S. National Anthem sung by Natalie Myers. Presentation of colors by the American Legion Post 29 (Port Angeles) Honor Guard.

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Sons of Norway Lodge 44 Leikarringen Dancers, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

5:30–6:30 p.m.: Shield Wall Demonstration, presented by Viking Village, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.

6:30–7:30 p.m.: The Iverson Brothers, local pop/rock/electronic trio, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

8-10 p.m.: Skinny Blue, alt-blues group featured in NW Music Scene’s “100 Bands in 100 Days,” Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

MAY 20

7:30-11 a.m.: Viking Fest Road Race, presented by Poulsbo Parks & Recreation. The 5- and 1-mile races begin at 6th Avenue and Hostmark Street; the Kids Dash is downtown on Front Street.

10 a.m. to 10 p.m.: Carnival open in King Olav Parking Lot.

10-11 a.m.: Poulsbo Elementary Marimba Group, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

11 a.m. to noon: Country Cloggers, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion. (Join them on stage; no experience necessary. The group says, “Let your feet feel the beat.”)

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Norwegian luncheon, Sons of Norway Lodge 44.

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Beer garden, Sons of Norway Lodge 44.

Noon to 12:45 p.m.: Shield Wall Demonstration, presented by Viking Village, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.

12:45-1:30 p.m.: Boot Scootin’ Grannies, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

2-4 p.m.: Viking Fest Parade, presented by Hill Moving.

4:15-5 p.m.: Leikarringen Dancers of Leif Erikson Lodge 2-001, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

5-6 p.m.: Shield Wall Demonstration presented by Viking Village, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.

6-7:30 p.m.: Rock, blues and soul group Sweet T & Justice, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

8-10 p.m.: Country blues band Betsy & the Boys, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

MAY 21

9 a.m.: The Viking Tour, a non-competitive group ride, will start and end on Moe Street next to City Hall. (Gov. Jay Inslee rode in the tour last year.) The tour has three lengths: the “Odin,” a 58-mile journey featuring more than 4,000 feet of climbs; the “Thor,” a 31-mile ride which is fairly flat and less challenging; and the “Freyja,” a 15-mile ride. All profits from the Viking Tour support the ongoing efforts of the Poulsbo Rotary Club. Go to

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Carnival open in King Olav Parking Lot.

11 a.m. to noon: Shield Wall Demonstration presented by Viking Village, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.

Noon to 1:30 p.m.: Donut-Eating Contest, presented by Sluys Bakery, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

1-4 p.m.: StrongMan Competition, presented by Slippery Pig Brewery and sponsored by CVS, Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Lutefisk-Eating Contest, sponsored by Valley Nursery, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Music by Celtic Magic, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Hispano Americano Dance Group of Bremerton, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Local alt-rock band Red Tape, Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion.

6 p.m.: Booths and entertainment close. Carnival closes.

Tip: Downtown parking is limited during Viking Fest. Vehicles with disability placards can park at the Edward Jones Investment Offices, 19032 Jensen Way NE; or in front of the old city hall. On May 20, park at North Kitsap High School and ride the shuttle bus to downtown ($2 round-trip charge for those older than 5). Also on May 20, park at Gateway Fellowship Church or First Lutheran Church for a suggested $5 donation.


Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, USN, commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, will be grand marshal of the Kitsap Credit Union Armed Forces Day Parade, 10 a.m. May 20 in downtown Bremerton.

This parade, the 69th annual, is reportedly the largest and longest-running Armed Forces Day Parade in the nation.

The day includes the Puget Sound Energy Heroes’ Barbecue, where all active duty personnel, reservists and veterans can enjoy a free hot dog lunch.

The parade’s annual attendance is 25,000 to 40,000 people from all over Western Washington. The parade includes all branches of the military, marching units, military bands, police and firefighters, youth organizations, dignitaries, and more.

For more information about the Armed Forces Day Parade, see the special section in the May 19 edition of Kitsap Weekly.

Community members cheer as Ardis Morrow and Bill Austin arrive at Kvelstad-Austin Pavilion in downtown Poulsbo for a celebration honoring their contributions to the community, in 2015. The two will again be honored on May 20 when they serve as grand marshals of the 2017 Viking Fest Parade. (Sophie Bonomi/2015)

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