For those of you who are not able to get over to Ballard to celebrate Norwegian constitution day on Thursday, May 17th, don't despair. Poulsbo, known as "Little Norway", devotes an entire weekend to celebrating Norwegian constitution day, and is a pleasant day trip from the Seattle -Everett area. This year's Viking Fest celebration will take place Friday, May 18th to Sunday, May 20th. Events will include a welcome from honorary Norwegian consul Kim Nesselquist on Friday evening followed by entertainment, a parade through Front Street and a Scandinavian luncheon at the Sons of Norway lodge on Saturday, a lutefisk eating contest at the waterfront and Norwegian films at the Sons of Norway lodge on Sunday, and food booths and a carnival will run all weekend long.
As a native Poulsbonian, I have to admit that I have a real soft spot for Viking Fest, although I am the first to admit that Poulsbo's celebration (which regularly includes a band of vikings among its parade participants) is certainly a good step away from a traditional Norwegian 17th of May celebration. That this festival continues to maintain its Norwegian theme and enjoys enthusiastic participation from the now diverse surrounding community is a testament to the strength of support for the town's Norwegian heritage. While in town, stop and visit the famous Sluy's bakery and pick up some lefse, visit the Nordic Maid gift shop to buy special Norwegian gifts, explore the Norwegian food selections at Marina Market, and check out the dancing of Poulsbo's strong leikarringen folk dance group. If you get a chance, talk to the locals at the Sons of Norway and learn more about how their families came to this beautiful town on Liberty Bay, and how they maintain their ties to the Old Country.