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!

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Photos of San Diego Scottish Highland Games.

The 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games gathers the clans and the public together for a weekend of fun at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.
The 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games gathers the clans and the public together for a weekend of fun at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.

This morning I headed to the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The big Southern California event is held every year in Vista, in San Diego’s North County, at Brengle Terrace Park.

This was my first visit to any sort of Scottish Highland Games, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

What an absolutely amazing experience!

How can I adequately explain what I saw? When I arrived I quickly reviewed the thick program, put it in my jeans pocket and just wandered about. The many sights and sounds were almost more than my brain could absorb. There was laughter, smiles and good times in every direction. There were exciting athletic games, traditional Scottish music and, of course, tasty food. And lots of history and culture, too!

I’ll let my many photos do the talking. Read the captions to learn more. If you can, head to Brengle Terrace Park tomorrow, because the weekend event continues through Sunday!

The event attracts people from around Southern California. Visitors are immersed in Scotland's unique and colorful culture.
The event attracts people from around Southern California. Visitors are immersed in Scotland’s unique and colorful culture.
Dozens of Scottish clans participate in the yearly gathering. Their proud history is on display in many tents on the grass.
Dozens of Scottish clans participate in the yearly gathering. Their proud history is on display in many tents on the grass.
These friendly Celtic beauty queens smiled for a photo at the information tent.
These friendly Celtic beauty queens smiled for a photo at the information tent.
Gentlemen in kilts enjoy their Scottish heritage and each other's company.
Gentlemen in kilts enjoy their Scottish heritage and each other’s company.
The Scottish Clan and Tartan Information Center had different plaid tartans on display, many with ancient origins.
The Scottish Clan and Tartan Information Center had different tartans on display, many with ancient origins.
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society was present. I forgot to go see the dancing in the park's Recreation Center. I'll remember next time!
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society was present. I forgot to go watch the dancing in the park’s Recreation Center. I’ll remember next time!
Sweeney's was selling some Irish Soda Bread and Scones, freshly baked!
Sweeney’s was selling some Irish Soda Bread and Scones, freshly baked!
These friendly ladies are the Sassenachs of San Diego. They are big Outlander fans and have a cool blog! Check it out at sass3journey.com
These friendly ladies are the Sassenachs of San Diego. They are big Outlander fans and have a cool blog! Check it out at sass3journey.com
Musicians on the Main Stage include The Ploughboys.
Musicians performing on the Main Stage include The Ploughboys.
Strong athletes compete on the Brengle Terrace Park's baseball field. The Scottish Heavy Athletics include Weight Toss, Weight Throw, Hammer Throw, Braemar Stone and Caber Toss
Strong athletes compete on the Brengle Terrace Park’s baseball field. The Scottish Heavy Athletics include Weight Toss, Weight Throw, Hammer Throw, Braemar Stone and Caber Toss.
Heaving a heavy stone as far as he can!
Heaving a heavy stone as far as he can!
The athletes talk and rest before each takes their turn.
The athletes talk and rest before each takes their turn.
Another stone flies! The ancient sport--Braemer Stone Put--was used for challenges of strength by early Highland Chieftains.
Another stone flies! The ancient sport–Braemer Stone Put–was used for challenges of strength by early Highland Chieftains.
World Champion and multiple record holder Vern Alexander lets fly! Many champions are participating in the 2018 San Diego Scottish Highland Games!
World Champion and multiple record holder Vern Alexander lets fly! Many champions are participating in the 2018 San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A seal at the Scottish American Athletic Association table. Strive for Perfection. Settle for Excellence.
A seal at the Scottish American Athletic Association table. Strive for Perfection. Settle for Excellence.
This guy was retrieving a hammer that he'd thrown far across the baseball field.
This guy was retrieving a hammer that he’d thrown far across the baseball field.
Here comes another attempt at a record!
Here comes another attempt at a record!
Some of the throws nearly went over the outfield fence!
Some of the hammer throws nearly went over the outfield fence!
Not far away, someone checks out the tent of Clan MacLellan.
Not far away, someone checks out the tent of Clan MacLellan.
The Scottish American Military Society was present for the annual gathering.
The Scottish American Military Society was present for the annual gathering.
I saw many maps of historical Scotland, some showing heraldic coats of arms.
I saw many maps of historical Scotland, some showing heraldic coats of arms.
Many beautiful crafts bore images of Scotland and the Scottish people.
Many beautiful crafts bore images of Scotland and the Scottish people.
Real men wear kilts! Instructions show how you can make your own Scottish style Great Kilt.
Real men wear kilts! Instructions show how you can make your own Scottish style Great Kilt.
A Scottish drum major practices on the field, with flags flying in the background.
A Scottish drum major practices on the field, with flags flying in the background.
The 42nd Black Watch Color Guard is the official guard for the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
The 42nd Black Watch Color Guard is the official guard for the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
Gentleman at the Scottish Plant Badge Society tents answers the question of a curious visitor.
Gentleman at the Scottish Plant Badge Society tents answers the question of a curious visitor.
Different native plants are used by the Scottish clans as badges, or emblems.
Different native plants are used by the Scottish clans as badges, or emblems.
Some rousing entertainment draws an audience to the stage inside the beer garden.
Some rousing entertainment draws an audience to the stage inside the beer garden.
Lots of Scottish food could be enjoyed, including meat pies.
Lots of Scottish food could be enjoyed, including authentic meat pies.
Two gents stride across the grass to another area of the park, where pipe bands, drummers and bagpipers compete.
Two gents stride across the grass to another area of the park, where pipe bands, drummers and bagpipers compete.
Different age groups compete in solo piping, drumming, and drum major for trophies.
Different age groups compete in solo piping, drumming, and drum major for trophies.
Someone stands in the distance practicing bagpipes. The distinctive sound could be heard all around the park!
Someone stands in the distance practicing. The distinctive sound of bagpipes could be heard all around the park!
The House of Scotland Pipe Band from Balboa Park joined many other groups from around Southern California for the annual competition.
The House of Scotland Pipe Band from Balboa Park joined many other groups from around Southern California for the annual competition. (I love it when they perform at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
Good times everywhere I turn!
Good times everywhere I turn!
A small group practices on the green.
A small group practices on the green.
This larger group has just finished their practice up on the hillside.
This larger group has just finished their practice up on the hillside.
Elsewhere in Brengle Terrace Park, people were watching Sheep Dog Trials!
Elsewhere in Brengle Terrace Park, people were watching Sheep Dog Trials!
A shepherd uses a whistle to command a sheep dog to herd four sheep.
A shepherd uses a whistle to command a sheep dog to herd four sheep.
People sit on the grass and watch the fascinating herding competition. Some dogs were really good; others seemed a bit confused.
People sit on the grass and watch the fascinating herding competition. Some dogs were really good; others seemed a bit confused.
Four sheep are successfully directed into a pen!
Four sheep are successfully directed into a pen!
Back at the athletics competition, I saw men attempting to toss a 42 pound weight over a pole vault bar, and women doing the Sheaf Toss over a bar with a pitchfork.
Back at the athletics competition, I saw men attempting to toss a 42 pound weight over a pole vault bar, and women doing the Sheaf Toss over a bar with a pitchfork.
A female contestant readies to toss the sheaf with a pitchfork.
A female contestant readies to toss the sheaf with a pitchfork.
Another lets fly!
Another lets fly!
This tough looking guy is going to try to fling that heavy weight over a bar high above him.
This tough looking guy is going to try to fling that heavy weight over a bar high above him.
I don't recall if this guy made it!
I don’t recall if this guy made it!
As women compete in the Braemer Stone Put, the Caber Toss competition is beginning!
As women compete in the Braemer Stone Put, the Caber Toss competition is beginning!
Those big wood poles are called cabers. They're tossed with the objective of flipping them end-over-end, landing as straight as possible.
Those big wood poles are called cabers. They’re tossed with the objective of flipping them end-over-end, landing as straight as possible.
That looks super heavy. One guy went backwards when he lost his balance.
That looks super heavy. One guy went backwards when he lost his balance.
A caber goes flying. I saw one successful flip, but I don't recall which photo shows it.
A caber goes flying. I saw one successful flip, but I don’t recall which photo shows it.
Guys retrieve the heavy caber after an attempt on the baseball field.
Guys retrieve the heavy caber after an attempt on the baseball field.
There goes another caber!
There goes another caber!
A young generation of Scots keeps history alive at the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A young generation of Scots keeps history alive at the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
Good times, warm conversation and fellowship.
Good memories, conversation and fellowship.
Drummer for the Wicked Tinkers gets the crowd enthused as he works his way through the beer garden.
Drummer for the Wicked Tinkers gets the crowd enthused as he works his way through the beer garden.
A wonderful time is had at the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A wonderful time is had at the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games.

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!