POULSBO — Norwegian Constitution Day will be marked for the 99th time this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Poulsbo as residents and visitors of all backgrounds celebrate Scandinavian heritage during Viking Fest.
As usual, the event is chock full of singing, dancing, eating, drinking and good times that have made the weekend fare the biggest annual gathering in the otherwise quaint town of Little Norway.
The 2002 schedule gets rolling on Friday, May 17 at 4 p.m. with the opening ceremonies at Kvelstad Pavilion. The grand affair will feature the Kitsap Battalion Naval Sea Cadets and Color Guard as well as a rendition of the Norwegian National Anthem played by the North Kitsap High School band. The United States will then get its own tribute when Katie Webster sings the American National Anthem, setting the tone for the days to follow. Royalty will also be present with Miss Viking Fest Alex Duchemin and Miss Poulsbo Kristen Eddings joining former Miss Poulsbo turned mayor — Donna Jean Bruce in celebration. North Kitsap’s top mom will also be honored at this time as Viking Fest names the 2002 Mother of the Year.
Carnival rides, food and craft booths and a Viking Village will open at 4 p.m. along Anderson Parkway and at Waterfront Park. The downtown festivities run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
At 4:30 and 5:15 p.m. Kvelstad Pavilion crowds will welcome the traditional steps of Poulsbo Sons of Norway Leikarringen Dancers, who will be followed on the main stage by the driving tunes of “In-Limbo” from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
As soon as the sun sets, it will rise again in smaller, more colorful forms when Eagle Fireworks light up the night over Liberty Bay to bring a bright closure to the day’s events.
They say the early bird gets the worm but he can also get all the sausage, eggs and pancakes he can eat Saturday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the 31st Annual Poulsbo Noon Lions Pancake Breakfast at the Armory. The featured event also boasts endless cups of coffee, orange juice, tea and milk enough to satisfy even the largest appetite. Money raised through the breakfast, which also grills up again on Sunday, May 19 at the same times, benefits the North Kitsap High School scholarship fund.
At 7:30 a.m. Lions Park will be the gathering point for everyone who wants to get their morning started off on the right foot. Check in for the 25th Annual Viking Fest Road Race will last until 9 a.m. when the five-mile run gets the starting gun. The one-mile race starts at 9:05 a.m. and kids dashes are at 10:15 a.m.
Wax enthusiasts can get their fill from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Christ Memorial Church during the 2nd Annual Show and Shine Car Show, also at 10 a.m. the talented kids of Liberty Bay Danceworks will be kicking up their heels at the pavilion.
For those who didn’t get their fill at the Armory, the Sons of Norway will host an authentic Scandinavian lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., serving up everything from open-faced sandwiches and pea soup to traditional baked goods.
Top road racers will get their just desserts at 11:30 a.m. at Kvelstad Pavilion during the awards presentation and will likely stick around to catch Portland’s high-flying, death-defying Rose City Water Skiers in action on Liberty Bay from 12:30-1:30 p.m. The skiers, sponsored by Boxlight Corp., will give crowds a second show on Sunday from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
At 2 p.m. the streets of Poulsbo will be filled as the 35th Annual Viking Fest Parade winds its way through town. The procession starts on 6th Avenue and turns down Fjord Drive to Front Street, making a right on Jensen Way. “No parking” signs will be posted on these streets to make way for the parade. Shuttles to and from the event will also make rounds from the free parking lots at NKHS, Poulsbo Junior High and Poulsbo Elementary.
From 2:30-3:10 p.m. and 4-4:40 p.m. guided tours of the Poulsbo Marine Science Center will be given, offering views and explanations of what really goes on in the Puget Sound.
Then it’s back to the pavilion from 4-5 p.m. for a show from the Cascade Navy Band; the Sammara Dancers from 5:30-6 p.m.; the Kitsap Kickers from 6-6:30 p.m. and finally the Buzz Whitely Big Band from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 gets started with the Poulsbo Noon Lions Breakfast and carnival fun before getting some “Rhythm and Shoes” at the pavilion at 10 a.m. with the Kitsap Cloggers.
The question “Where have all the Orcas gone?” will be answered during an education movie that airs at Marine Science Center at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The Sons of Norway will also be getting into the movie business from 12-4 p.m. as they present the “Wonders of Norway” in the Viking Room. For those who wish to see some real Norwegians doing their thing, the Clover Blossom Band will set some sweet tunes up for the Sammendra Dancers from 12:30-1 p.m. at the pavilion. The band will continue playing until 1:30 p.m. — just before the odor of lutefisk fills the air.
The 2 p.m. Lutefisk Eating Contest, sponsored by New Day Fisheries, will pit stout-stomached contestants against one another as they attempt to scarf down plate after plate of the lye-soaked cod, which apparently is some sort of Norwegian delicacy. The event is limited to the first 15 people who sign up. Interested parties should check in at the Viking Fest information booth on Anderson Parkway and then make reservations for a bed at Harrison Memorial Hospital.
Pre-carnival wrist bands will also be available at the booth on Thursday and Friday night until 4 p.m. For more information, call 779-FEST or visit Vikingfest.org.