House of Norway’s celebration in Balboa Park!

Today the House of Norway celebrated their country’s Constitution Day a bit early with a lawn program in Balboa Park!

Norway’s proud history, democratic ideals and culture were showcased at the center of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

There was food (including waffles!), and folk song, and friendly folk in traditional costume, and speeches made by local dignitaries. And beautiful Norwegian crafts, like Hardanger embroidery, wood carving, and knitting. And Norwegian Elkhounds were on hand, too!

I checked out the festive event a couple of times as I walked about Balboa Park and took these photographs…

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Photos of Vista’s Annual Viking Festival!

Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.
Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.

Today I headed up to Vista to enjoy the 16th Annual Viking Festival, which is being held this weekend in and around Norway Hall.

This very popular festival features everything Norse, including costumes, crafts, cultural demonstrations, live music on two stages, and a wide variety of spirited competitions. There’s a Viking Beard Competition, a Viking Horn Blowing contest, a Kids Fish Fling, a Guardians of Midgard Chest Game, and an epic All Weapons Tournament. Although I didn’t stay to watch, I learned that Saturday evening concludes with spectacular flaming axe throwing!

I arrived shortly after the gate opened, then wandered about taking it all in before the festival became extremely crowded.

Here come a bunch of photos!

The Vista Viking Festival continues on Sunday. If you’re in the area, you might want to head on over yourself! If you don’t care for big crowds, come early!

The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.

I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista's Norway Hall and put on the festival.
I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista’s Norway Hall and put on the festival.

The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!
The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!

Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!
Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!

It appears I've entered Viking territory!
It appears I’ve entered Vikings territory!

In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by Norsemen long ago.
In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by fierce Norsemen long ago.

A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.
A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.

Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.
Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.

Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.
Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.

I hadn't realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!
I hadn’t realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!

The festival's Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.
The festival’s Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.

These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.
These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.

A lady at work making Viking crafts.
A lady at work making Viking crafts.

This friendly Viking welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.
This friendly Viking gent welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.

Signs explained different aspect of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble, ruled over by Odin.
Signs explained different aspects of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble and are ruled over by Odin.

The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.
The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.

Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking's hair was often proportionate to their social status. Elaborate braids would be tended by servants.
Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking’s hair was often representative of their social status. Long, elaborate braids would be “sewn together” and tended by servants.

Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.
Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.

One vendor created these very cool stained glass dragons.
One vendor was showing these very cool stained glass dragons.

Another vendor had magic runes for sale.
Another vendor had magic runes for sale.

Another sold lots of colorful mugs.
Another had a big inventory of very colorful mugs.

These bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!
These funny bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!

A metalsmith was at work in the festival's Northern Territory.
A metalsmith was at work in the festival’s Northern Territory.

So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.
So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.

More armor and weaponry that might have been used by warring Norsemen.
More armor and weaponry that might have been used by marauding Norsemen.

Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.
Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.

Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.
Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.

This funny warrior was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.
This funny fellow was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.

I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.
I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.

One vendor had all sorts of fantastic figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.
One vendor had all sorts of fantastic, glittering figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.

Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.
Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.

A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.
A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.

I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin's Forge.
I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin’s Forge.

Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.
Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.

At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival can try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.
At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.

Aiming for the dragon!
Aiming for the dragon!

Cheers!
And there’s a large beer garden, too. Cheers!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!