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Set sail: The Manassas Viking Festival returns for a proper Scandinavian celebration

Here’s what to expect at this year’s gathering, including reenactments and Viking-era ships.

Photo via Facebook/Manssas Viking Festival

What’s that off in the distance? Could it be … the red and white-striped sail of the Norseman? Why, yes! The Norseman, a Viking ship replica (owned by the Leif Ericson Viking Ship, Inc., based out of Philadelphia) will be back in all of its glory at the Manassas Viking Festival on Saturday, May 11.

The event attracted over 4,000 attendees last year with a replica Viking-era ship, combat reenactments, Norwegian and Icelandic horses and more. This year, the festival will be filled with more than just shiny armor and friendly flags.

Featuring Viking reenactments with local historians, an open session of Althing, the Viking version of government discussion that predated modern-day parliament, the event’s entertainment lineup will also include live music from the Crossjacks of Tennessee.

Visitors can research their potential Scandinavian roots with the Icelandic Roots Genealogy Ancestry database which will be on site, as well as buy Viking-era artwork and handmade goods from vendors of near and far.

Also new this year is the Val-Howl-A Hall dog show, where Viking-breed dogs, such as Icelandic sheepdogs and Norwegian buhunds, will get their time to shine.

And because the festival is all in good fun (with historical context, of course), there will be a wife carrying race in honor of Mother’s Day, and the winner will go home with a flower bouquet.

This event was the creation of Erna Hákonardóttir Pomrenke and Susie Fosaaen, inspired by a handful of other Viking-inspired festivals that take place around the United States. Grab your swords and shields—it’s time to party like a Viking.

 For more information, visit visitmanassas.org. // Harris Pavilion: 9201 Center St., Manassas; free

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