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The Vikings are coming

Sound the lur! The Vikings will set up camp in Poulsbo this weekend for the 40th annual Viking Fest. - File Photo
Sound the lur! The Vikings will set up camp in Poulsbo this weekend for the 40th annual Viking Fest.
— image credit: File Photo

t New attractions set sail with 40th Viking Fest Friday.

POULSBO — The streets of downtown Poulsbo will soon be filled with a host of Nordic pride.

Viking Fest is set to kick off its 40th year — and some new traditions — Friday.

To bring the event back to its roots, organizers say this year the involvement of local businesses is on the rise, while large commercial presences will be lessened. And the draw for the public is bigger than ever, with the start of an Iron Chef competition and a karaoke contest in conjunction with Point No Point Casino.

Even some of the event’s oldest activities are shaping up to hit record heights of excitement.

Nearly 100 entrants have signed up for Saturday’s parade. The Viking village will set up camp on Waterfront Park as usual, and alongside them local tribal booths are planned to offer an array of cultural demonstrations.

Despite a tumultuous year that saw several possible relocations for the Viking Fest carnival, executive vice president Kathi Foresee said the board is heading into the weekend with a confident outlook.

“Viking Fest is going into it with a positive attitude after a lot of hard work,” Foresee said. “We’re going to have a good year. It’s our 40th and we’re going to go for it.”

This year the carnival will be located in the King Olaf parking lot, between Martha & Mary and Blue Sky Printing. Front Street between Jensen Way and Sunset Street will be shut down Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday to make for safe pedestrian travel between it and Anderson Parkway, Foresee said.

And a major way the event is incorporating area businesses is the Iron Chef competition, which involves several Kitsap culinary pros going up against one another in a battle to create the best Norwegian dish.

Contestants will hit the ground running Sunday at 10 a.m., and must incorporate a secret ingredient known only at the start of the day into the Scandinavian menu they have planned.

“They’re really excited to go head-to-head, restaurant-to-restaurant,” said board member Pam Whitt, adding the restauranteurs will be flying their colors and waving their flags in company pride. “They’re in it to win it.”

When it comes to Viking Fest’s efforts to involve local businesses, “this is the perfect way,” she said.

And the prize will be a worthwhile one.

“The biggest thing is they get bragging rights for a year,” Foresee said.

The Iron Chef competition will also include a youth contest category. Kids and teens 18 years of age and younger can whip up their favorite Norwegian dishes at home and present them to the judges Sunday in a bid for the youth top prize.

Of the more than 55 vendors slated to appear this weekend, 75 percent of them are from “right here in Kitsap County,” Foresee said. Booths will include those from Poulsbo’s Centennial Committee, Relay for Life and the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.

The event is also offering free parking and Kitsap Transit shuttle services from North Kitsap High, Poulsbo Middle and Poulsbo Elementary schools. President Ron Krell said in an e-mail Monday the one thing missing from this year’s event: fireworks, as not enough funds could be gathered to put on the display.

For more information on Viking Fest, including the three-day schedule, visit vikingfest.org or see the “What’s Up” insert in today’s Herald.

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