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Viking Fest embarks on new traditions

POULSBO — April showers might bring May flowers in most parts of the world, but in Little Norway, they mean Viking Fest is on its way.

The 38th annual event is slated for May 19-21 and it is expected that thousands of visitors will descend upon the city to get a glimpse or taste of all things Norwegian.

As festival organizers gear up for this year’s event, they’ve decided to add a couple of new traditions to the nearly four-decade old celebration.

The first, which was suggested by representatives from Poulsbo RV, is a contest to select the Viking Fest parade grand marshal, said Viking Fest secretary Kathi Foresee.

North End students are being asked if they want their favorite teacher to be the grand marshal of the parade, she explained.

“It’s a nice way to honor teachers and it will probably become a tradition,” Foresee said.

Not only will the contest recognize teachers for their hard work and dedication, but it should get kids more involved in the festivities, she said.

Entries will be available at Poulsbo RV, the Viking Bank location on State Route 305, all of the schools in the North Kitsap School District and on the Viking Fest Web site, www.vikingfest.org. All completed entries need to be mailed to Parade Marshall, P.O. Box 1125, Poulsbo, WA 98370.

“The top five will be asked to attend the Miss Viking Fest pageant and the one chosen will be announced then,” Foresee said.

The pageant is slated for April 22 at Christ Memorial Lutheran Church.

The other new event in this year’s festival is a karaoke contest, which will be May 20.

“We want to have local establishments that have karaoke send us their best male and female performers,” she said.

If there are enough contestants, the event will be held the Friday of the festival, she said.

“We’re hoping this will become an annual event that everybody can look forward to,” Foresee said.

While new events are being added to this year’s festival, fireworks, once again, will not light up the skies over Liberty Bay due to a lack of sponsorship.

“This will be the second straight year of no fireworks, but if a sponsor were to appear in the next week or so, I’m sure we could work something out,” she said.

Sponsors are not only needed for the fireworks display, but to support the festival as a whole, she said.

However, Seattle country radio station 94.1FM KMPS will be returning to Little Norway for the third year in a row with one minor change — instead of doing a live remote during the parade, a radio personality will be in town the Saturday before the event, Foresee said.

“They’re going to be at the location of one of our major sponsors to kick off Viking Fest,” she said.

Viking Fest T-shirts and buttons will be on sale during the two-hour promotion, she added.

Last year’s pre-sale of wrist bands for the carnival was a huge success and festival organizers have plans for another sale around May 1 at Viking Bank.

“There will only be 1,000 available this year and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis,” she said, noting once they are sold, no more will be available.

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