The Vikings are here!

Viking Fest returns to Poulsbo once again

Centuries ago, hearing someone say “the Vikings are here!” was often a declaration followed by no small amount of panic on the behalf of the unfortunate villagers who found themselves beset by the wandering raiders from the north. But today, in the town of Poulsbo, “the Vikings are coming” is a statement that could very well be met with a casual “oh, is it that time of year again?” It is indeed that time of year once again.

In the self-declared Viking City, the Scandinavian plunderers of yore are celebrated annually during Viking Fest, which serves as the city’s yearly opportunity to celebrate the Scandinavian heritage of the first people to settle on the shores of what would later come to be known as Liberty Bay.

Now in its 51st year, Viking Fest is an opportunity for Poulsbo’s villagers to head downtown and sample the fare and peruse the wares of the many vendors who line up along Anderson Parkway; to meet Vikings and learn about traditional Scandinavian culture; and of course get the adrenaline pumping with the numerous carnival rides and games of chance.

Visitors should not miss a chance to witness what is undoubtedly one of the most beguiling displays of competitive fish-eating, this side of the Agate Passage Bridge. Viking Fest’s Lutefisk Eating Contest on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. will find contestants scarfing down plate after plate of the lye-cured fish, until one iron-gutted victor remains.

Lions Club Pancake Breakfast

Be sure to start your Viking Fest off right by fueling up at the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast.

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club will host its 48th annual Viking Fest Lions Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Sunday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the North Kitsap High School cafeteria.

The breakfast includes all-you-can-eat pancakes with eggs, sausage, milk, orange juice, coffee, and tea. The cost of the breakfast is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Net proceeds from this event go to scholarships for North Kitsap area high school graduates.

Lions Club members will have a collection box at the breakfast and encourage the community to bring no-longer-needed hearing aids, used eyeglasses including prescription and non-prescription sunglasses, and non-prescription “readers,” which will be used to help people with vision or hearing needs. The Poulsbo Lions Club has 85 members and meets every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at Poulsbo’s First Lutheran Church. The Evening Pride Branch meets the first and third Thursdays at 7 p.m. at St. Olaf’s Catholic Church.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with nearly 1.4 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, the hearing impaired, and those with diabetes. The Lions also have a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.



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 the 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. Atnoon 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.

Road closures

The Poulsbo Police Department recently announced that it will be closing down a number of streets in downtown Poulsbo Saturday, May 18 in order to safely accommodate Viking Fest activities.

Starting at 9 a.m. the Viking Fest Road Race will see Front Street closed off to traffic, as well as 6th Avenue between Hostmark Street and Fjord Drive.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. soft closures will be in place for the Viking Fest Parade. A “soft” closure means that only residents who live in the affected area and parade participants will be allowed access to the following locations:

  • Hostmark Street and 8th Avenue
  • 6th Avenue between Hostmark Street and Fjord Drive
  • Jensen Way and Moe Street
  • Front Street and Sunset Street
  • 4th Avenue between Iverson and Hostmark Street

From 1 to 4:30 p.m. hard closures will be enforced. A “hard” means no traffic can enter or leave the following affected areas:

  • Front Street through downtown Poulsbo
  • 6th Avenue between Hostmark Street and Fjord Drive
  • Jensen Way and Moe Street
  • Front Street and Sunset Street
  • Questions about closures may be directed to the Poulsbo Police Department at 360-779-3113

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