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Fifth Annual Viking Fest Returns to Whitestown

Photograph provided

Several years ago, a brewery in a town in Indiana held a Viking festival that drew a respectable crowd. Over time, its popularity grew so much that organizers had to find another venue that could accommodate the crowd. When Whitestown Parks and Recreation staff were approached about accommodations, they were intrigued by the idea.

“We were looking for an opportunity to host a unique event in Whitestown,” said Kim Heffner, Public Relations Manager for the City of Whitestown.

This is undoubtedly a unique event, as the three-day festival aims to celebrate Viking culture. That means there are battle re-enactments, plus archery, ax throwing, fire juggling, a Viking village and the chance to meet live wolves.

Alexa Lingg, events coordinator for Viking Fest, is happy to see how eager people are to not only attend the event, but also to participate as vendors or entertainers. Held at Anson Acres, a 15-acre park, Viking groups come from all over the region, including Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Illinois. Many of them know each other, and it is because this festival kicks off the season and many of them travel all over the United States to attend Renaissance festivals and other similar events. The Ulfhedinn Vikings, Dansk Spyd Vikingr and Storrada are confirmed for this year.

“They camp in the woods at Anson Acres, and people who come can see their camps set up to watch how they cook, because they do everything the Viking way over the fire,” says Lingg. “Everyone dresses the role and they never step out of character throughout the weekend. It’s an immersive experience.

Throughout the weekend, Viking groups re-enact battles to educate the public about life in the Viking Age. Occurring multiple times throughout the day, battles are the most popular draw, though patrons also love the handcrafted artisans.

“I think since COVID a lot of people have turned to supporting local businesses,” Lingg says.

These artisans sell a wide variety of unique items such as candles, crystals, hand-carved dragons, handmade ceramics, chainmail jewelry, leather goods, local wine, handmade soaps hand, armor, weapons, books and drinking horns.

Many food vendors offer period-themed items such as turkey legs, burgers, brats, and Scotch eggs. There will also be a variety of Fair Trade style dishes, steak tips, potatoes, loaded fries, mac and cheese, sandwiches and ice cream. Beer, wine and mead (a Viking drink similar to wine) will also be available.

“It’s a family event, so there’s food, drink and fun for adults and kids alike,” Lingg says.

Children can play in the inflatable ax throwing area and participate in the obstacle courses. Visitors can also see different bird shows which include hawks. Plus, a non-profit group will have wolves and goats to pet.

Viking Fest has grown every year as new vendors and performers have asked to be included. This year they are adding a storyteller, who will speak near the hearth. Other entertainment includes Pictus Band, Minstrel Rav’n, Enchanting Animals, Take Flight! Wildlife Education, Luku the Mad Skald, a fire artist (Friday and Saturday nights only) and a drum throwing contest.

“Asgard’s Rangers practice ax throwing and archery,” says Lingg. “People can pay $5 to do this. It’s really fun and popular.

Tim Perkins with Dragons Den Treasures has been at Viking Fest for the past three years and always looks forward to coming back.

Viking Fest is the ultimate show for vendors and customers alike,” says Perkins. The staff are awesome, very accommodating and the placement is phenomenal for the vendors. This is by far my best and most fun event.

In recent years, the Whitestown Viking Fest has attracted between 5,000 and 7,000 attendees.

“I don’t think people understand the magnitude of this event and the crowd it draws,” Lingg says. “Most of our attendees come from outside of Boone County. It brings such community because there is no other event like this in the entire state, since the Indiana Renaissance Faire is no longer held, or at least it hasn’t last year due to COVID.

Patrick Martin Dansk Spyd Vikingr has been working with the Whitestown Viking Fest for a few years.

It really is a great weekend giving the chance to share our love of the Viking Age with the public and hopefully educate and entertain along the way,” says Martin. Every year weI am pleasantly surprised as the festival improves with more vendors, entertainment and organizations. We canI look forward to seeing what the future holds and we are truly grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the fun weekend that is Viking Fest.

Viking Fest will take place at Anson Acres from April 29 through May 1. Anson Acres is located at 4671 Anson Boulevard in Whitestown. The daily admission cost is only $5 per person. Children 2 and under will be admitted free. Tickets are available for purchase online and at the door. For more information, visit whitestownparks.org/vikingfest.

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