First-ever Viking Festival comes to Manassas Saturday

On May 12, find over 50 vendors, musical performances, dancers, a Viking ship, demonstrations and more at Harris Pavilion.

Photo courtesy of Erna Pomrenke

Manassas resident Erna Pomrenke, who also serves as a board member of the The Icelandic Association of Washington, D.C., started planning the Manassas Viking Festival in February 2017.

“I always wanted to do an event like this that represents the culture of the Nordic societies,” says Pomrenke, who originally hails from Iceland. After presenting the idea in a meeting with local cultural group Sons of Norway, Pomrenke and Sons of Norway Hospitality Director and Festival Committee Chairman Susie Fosaaen joined forces to make her vision a reality.

The first-ever Viking Festival, which takes place on May 12 at the Harris Pavilion (9201 Center St., Manassas), is estimated to attract more than 5,000 attendees. “There’s a lot of interest and energy around it,” Pomrenke notes. “People are extremely enthusiastic and looking forward to it.”

According to Pomrenke, families are strongly encouraged to attend due to the educational aspects of the festival. There will be six Viking reenactment groups on the Manassas Museum‘s front lawn (9101 Prince William Street) showing what daily life was like in Scandinavia through demonstrations that include cooking, pottery making, blacksmithing and more. Norwegian and Icelandic horses will walk the grounds, as will Icelandic sheep and chickens.

Through a donation from the Rink Management Services Corporation, the festival co-founders were able to acquire a 40-foot Viking ship, which will be open for festival-goers to walk into and explore, or simply snap a picture of.

Pomrenke carefully selected over 50 vendors offering authentic, “high-quality” goods to attend the festival, some traveling from as far as New Mexico and New York. Tennesse-based band The Crossjacks will deliver a “lively and energetic” musical performance while the Nordic Dancers of Washington, D.C., “Sporið” Icelandic dancers and Phoenix Irish dancers entertain the eyes with their culturally unique dance moves.

“It shows the interest of people willing to travel that far for a one-day show,” Pomrenke says.

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