North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Arlington hosts Viking Fest

 

October 11, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

A re-enactor at the third annual Arlington Viking Fest displays his blacksmithing skills on Oct. 7.

Archers, axe throwers, blacksmiths and other re-enactors helped to demonstrate Viking life at the third annual Viking Fest on Oct. 7 and 8.

The event is put on by the Downtown Arlington Business Association and fills up Legion Park for the two days with re-enactors and demonstrations about Scandinavian and Viking history.

Families participated in activities like flour grinding, weaving, forging, axe throwing, archery and learning how to create a shield wall. Other demonstrations included shoe-making, blacksmithing and jewelry-making.

"This year was phenomenal," said Dana Fowler, vice-president of the Downtown Arlington Business Association and the lead organizer for the Viking Fest.

"There was a great turnout," she said. "We had expanded this year so there was more to see and do."

Fowler said that they tried to focus on hands-on demonstrations this year.

"The attendees really enjoyed the new activities," said Fowler. "We tried some more educational pieces as well."

Local parents said they enjoyed the many activities like practicing weaving or grinding barley.

"It's great. It's better than I thought it was going to be," said parent Alison Barone.

"You learn things and you have people teaching her [Alison's daughter] this weaving," she said.

Families also said they liked the variety of activities at the event, with demonstrations and activities open throughout the two days of the festival.

"We like everything, including learning and seeing all the cool stuff and the demonstrations here," said  local parent Robert Morlock.

The event is meant to celebrate the Scandinavian heritage of the area.

"Here in Arlington we were a settlement for Scandinavian settlers, one of the largest of the 1800s," said Fowler.

"They helped build the fishing and logging industries in the area after immigrating over," she said.

Scandinavian settlers also lived in areas all around the Pacific Northwest as well and helped grow many of the early cities for Washington state.

"We have many people in the northwest that are still here today from those settlers," said Fowler.

The education pieces about Viking culture and life were also meant to reduce the myth of the Viking.

Christopher Andersson

Participants learn how to make a shield wall at the third annual Arlington Viking Fest on Oct. 7.

"One of the things we want to do is correct history," said Fowler, who added that most of what we know about the Vikings is from texts written by sources who had a slanted view of the Scandinavians.

This year's event also had other changes.

A marketplace this year featured various items including hand-made leather items and carved wooden items.

The pub tour of previous years was replaced with a beer garden this year to make that aspect of the festival more involved with the Legion Park events.

Also new was an opening and closing festival that kicked off and ended each day, which presented a day in the life of a Viking leader.

Fowler said she hopes to return next year.

"We hope this festival will continue long into the future," she said. "My vision is for this to be a very immersive experience."

More information about the Arlington Viking Fest is available at their website at arlingtonvikingfest.com.

 

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