Poulsbo's strong Norwegian heritage began over 100 years ago in the late 1880's. Jorgen Eliason is credited with founding Poulsbo. Jorgen, his sister Rakel and his 6 year old son E.J. came to Poulsbo from Fordefjord, Norway, by way of Michigan in 1883. A month after Jorgen's arrival, Ivar B. Moe with his wife and three sons arrived from Paulsbo, Norway, via Minnesota. They settled at the head of the bay to develop a farm on land that has since become Poulsbo Village Shopping Center. Because of it's majestic snow-peaked mountains and fjords, Poulsbo was soon settled by many more Norwegian and Scandinavian immigrants who likened the landscape to their beautiful Norway.
This past weekend, they held a street fair called VikingFest. Interested in costuming and generally looking for something to do on a sunny Sunday, we headed out that direction to see what there was to see. The street fair was small with mostly food booths, charities and direct sales consultants. But, what was interesting to me was the Viking area. Several families of folks impassioned with the Vikings and their culture had set up tents/teepees and were camping out. Dressed appropriately and displaying their wares and knowledge of Viking culture, I was eager to engage these fellow costumers in conversation. I also snapped a few pics, just for fun.
Lots of Celtic design jewelry to be had! The women seemed to be more interested in the decoration of Vikings, and the men the battle, weapons and armor of this historical culture.
A Viking is one of the Norse (Scandinavian) explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe from the late eighth to the early eleventh century. These Norsemen used their famed longships to travel as far east as Constantinople and the Volga River in Russia, and as far west as Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. This period of Viking expansion is known as the Viking Age, and forms a major part of the medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles and Europe in general.
A romanticized picture of Vikings as Germanic noble savages emerged in the 17th century, and especially during the Victorian era Viking revival. In Britain it took the form of Septentrionalism, in Germany that of "Wagnerian" pathos or even Germanic mysticism, and in the Scandinavian countries that of Romantic nationalism or Scandinavism. In contemporary popular culture these clichéd depictions are often ironised with the effect of presenting Vikings as cartoonish characters.
Not unlike the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe) these Viking-following costumers are duplicating clothing and artifacts in the closest way possible to the Vikings of old.
I loved how the armor and chain maille was displayed. I talked to one gentlemen who had been proudly fighting in the displayed armor for close to 30 years. He said his neck circumference increased substantially as a result. He encouraged me to pick up some of the helmets, and let me tell you...they are heavy! Not to mention sweaty and smelly, I'm sure!
"Vikings stand and fight because if you run, you'll only die tired." (an old Viking saying)