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The Vikings are coming! Sheringham gets set for ‘best festival ever’

PUBLISHED: 11:02 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 13 February 2018

Scira Viking Festival founder Colin Seal with the 16 ft longboat built by local carpenter Brian Howe and painted by a team of carnival volunteers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Scira Viking Festival founder Colin Seal with the 16 ft longboat built by local carpenter Brian Howe and painted by a team of carnival volunteers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

The streets of Sheringham will echo with the battle cries of dozens of horned helmet-wearing warriors, when the fourth annual Scira Viking Festival kicks off on Saturday with combat displays by two Norfolk re-enactment groups.

Scira Viking Festival founder Colin Seal (left) and Sheringham Musuem chairman Tim Groves with the 16 ft longboat due to be burnt on the beach on Saturday. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Scira Viking Festival founder Colin Seal (left) and Sheringham Musuem chairman Tim Groves with the 16 ft longboat due to be burnt on the beach on Saturday. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The countdown to the annual event began on Monday with a series of art and craft workshops running at the town’s seafront museum.

The venue will also be hosting a storytelling session, a Viking boat-building film screening, and a Viking-themed talk by local historian and museum chairman Tim Groves.

The 16 ft longboat due to be burnt on the beach on Saturday as part of Sheringham Viking Festival. Photo: KAREN BETHELL The 16 ft longboat due to be burnt on the beach on Saturday as part of Sheringham Viking Festival. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The former Sheringham Primary School teacher, who, on Saturday, will be telling the spine-tingling tale of when Vikings passed through the town, said the museum had become more involved with the festival this year.

He added: “It is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with children using the museum’s education space and to work on art projects, which is something we hope to do more of in the future.”

Festival founder Colin Seal, who has a workshop at the museum, said the festival got “better and better”, with demand for the children’s workshops increasing year on year.

After a fleeting hiccup that saw the trailer due to be carrying a 16ft longboat centrepiece taken to a local scrap yard by a well-meaning passer-by before being returned undamaged, the event is on track to becoming the most successful yet, with the boat now in place in the town centre.

“It’s brilliant,” Mr Seal said. “We have had an a amazing response from people walking past and the boat is much more detailed this year as we have had a lot more people helping to paint it and bring their own artistic style.”

In spite of the hundreds of hours of work that have gone into creating the craft, Mr Seal said he had no regrets about seeing it go up in flames at the traditional boat-burning ceremony.

“I don’t feel bad about it at all,” he explained. “I think people can be far too precious about artwork but, to me, it just means we have an opportunity to make another one next year.”

Festival day on Saturday will include storytelling, a Viking boat building film presentation and battles outside Oddfellows Hall at 11am and on the beach at 2pm.

The torchlit parade will assemble at Station Road car park at 5pm, with the boat-burning taking place on the east beach at 5.30pm.

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