Now in its 51st year, Poulsbo’s Viking Fest is set to kick off on Friday, May 17 and run right through May 19 at 6 p.m. here’s a list of events to help you plan your visit to Poulsbo’s annual celebration of its Scandinavian heritage.
The festival kicks off Friday, May 17 at noon with the opening of food and craft booths along downtown Poulsbo’s Anderson Parkway. The Vikings will have established a foothold and constructed a village at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park around this time as well. The carnival will open at 4 p.m. in the King Olaf Parking Lot.
At the Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion an opening ceremony will be performed at 4 p.m. which will immediately be followed by a demonstration of a Viking skjaldborg or “shield wall” presented by the Viking Village. at 5 p.m. the Leikarringen Dancers with the Sons of Norway Lodge #44 will take the stage to show off some traditional Norwegian folk dancing. At 6:30 p.m. Sweet T & Justice will offer up some bluesy riffs before Crosswing takes the stage at 8 p.m. to finish out the night.
The second day of Viking Fest will begin at 9 a.m. with the Viking Road Race, presented by Poulsbo Parks & Recreation. The carnival will open Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and will continue until 10 p.m. At 11 a.m. a beer garden hosted by the Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge #44 will open and will remain so until 7 p.m.
Entertainment at the Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion will begin at 10 a.m. with the Poulsbo Elementary Marimba Group, to be followed by the Country Cloggers at 11 a.m. and tunes from Peninsula Big Band at noon. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. the much-adored Viking Fest Parade will make its way through the streets of downtown Poulsbo. Back at the pavilion, Leikarringen Dancers with the Leif Erickson Lodge 2-001 will be performing, followed by another shield wall demonstration at 5 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. Howling West will be taking the stage, followed by Planet Groove, who will be closing out the night from 8 to 10 p.m.
A late start will allow for those who plundered late on Saturday to get some much-needed Viking rest before returning to Viking Fest. Hardy Vikings will need their beauty rest too, since the day’s events kick off with a strong man competition at 1 p.m., presented by the Slippery Pig Brewery. Carnival attractions open at 10 a.m. again on Sunday and will close at 6 p.m.
At the Austin-Kvelstad Pavilion, Kitsap County Musical Theatre will be kicking things off at 10 a.m. to be followed by on final shield wall demonstration by the Viking Village. At noon the pavilion will see the return of Sluys Bakery’s Donut Eating Contest wherein a number of participants will attempt to consume the three-pound King Olaf doughnut. It should be noted that in the six years since the contest’s inception, not a single soul has managed to conquer the King Olaf. The love-it-or-hate-it Lutefisk Eating Contest will follow at 1:30 p.m. A presentation by In Motion Dance will be held at 3 p.m. followed by a final shield wall demonstration at 4 p.m. Joel Gibson Jr. will be taking the stage at 5 p.m. to close out Viking Fest by 6 p.m.