The Vikings are coming! Norse invaders set to descend on Sheringham for ‘biggest and best’ festival yet
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of fur-clad, axe-carrying Norse warriors will descend on Sheringham, when the hugely popular Scira Viking Festival kicks off on February 22 with a week-long series of talks, demonstrations and family craft workshops.
Now in its seventh year, the annual event was the idea of local artist Colin Seal, who wanted to honour Sheringham's Norse heritage and attract local people and visitors to the seaside town outside the holiday season.
"After Christmas, it's a bit of a let-down," Mr Seal, 76, said. "January and February are quite miserable, so it's nice to have something to do and, even though it's cold, people wrap up and we go ahead whatever the weather."
Since it was first held in 2013, the festival has grown beyond all expectations, last year featuring more than 100 re-enactors and attracting thousands of spectators from as far afield as Essex, Berkshire and Leicestershire.
Mr Seal, 76, said the event, which is now run by Sheringham Carnival Association, this year promised to be bigger and better than ever, with more attractions and up to 200 re-enactors from all over the country.
"We are also planning to drape huge banners around the town - every year we try to add something different and new," he added.
Oddfellows Hall, on Lifeboat Plain, will be transformed into 'Valhalla Hall' for a series of workshops and demonstrations including axe and shield-making, while the seafront museum will host Viking-themed talks and musk ox spinning demonstrations.
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The main festival day, on February 22, will see festival regulars Wuffa Saxon and Viking Re-enactment Society turn the town's Leas clifftop gardens into a living history encampment featuring Viking cooking, crafts and weaponry displays, as well as have-a-go axe throwing and archery demonstrations.
Other attractions will include thrilling battles on the beach, with the day culminating in a torchlit procession through the town, followed by the traditional burning of a 28-ft longboat on the west beach, which, Mr Seal said, would be "more spectacular than ever".
Festival organisers would be pleased to hear from anyone willing to help out for a few hours during the week or on the main festival day. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org