The Bremerton Sons of Norway Oslo Lodge longship makes its way through Poulsbo’s Front Street during the 2019 Viking Fest parade. Brian Judge / Kitsap News Group.

The Bremerton Sons of Norway Oslo Lodge longship makes its way through Poulsbo’s Front Street during the 2019 Viking Fest parade. Brian Judge / Kitsap News Group.

Viking Fest, Poulsbo’s Scandinavian celebration, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak

POULSBO — One of Kitsap County’s biggest events of the year, Viking Fest held each May in Poulsbo, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual festival centered around Norway’s independence would have been the 52nd iteration, but organizers have made the difficult decision to cancel the event, formally announcing it Monday morning.

Once Gov. Jay Inslee extended his “stay-at-home” executive orders through May 4, and seeing other big events such as the Armed Forces Day Parade postponed — which is held the same weekend — Viking Fest Corporation President Kathi Foresee said the board decided to go ahead with their decision to not hold Viking Fest this year.

“It wasn’t made lightly,” Foresee said. It was a very hard decision for a lot of us.”

This year’s Viking Fest had been scheduled for May 15-17 and would have included the usual parade, donut- and lutefisk-eating contests, carnival, strong man competition and road race. The festival draws tens of thousands of people to Little Norway each year.

But as important as the event is, the board decided the health and safety of residents was far more paramount.

“We had a long meeting to figure this one out,” Foresee said.

Foresee said she and the board members had spent much of Tuesday working on notifying everyone involved, including vendors. The Viking Fest Corporation will move on to its 3rd of July Festival, though the city has not yet approved this year’s event.

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