Sons rise to mark summer solstice

POULSBO — Brian Davis is a big guy and, despite his ready smile, could be considered quite an imposing figure.

But even after the long-time Sons of Norway Viking had donned traditional fur garb and a menacing helmet, he still had trouble getting some respect at the annual Midsummer Fest celebration in Poulsbo.

In the heat of the late-day sun Saturday, Davis and his torch-bearing band of Vikings ringed the Waterfront Park fire pit to gain the attention of and “pay homage” to the Norse gods. Unfortunately, he had some trouble gaining the immediate attention of whomever was playing Norwegian music at nearby Kvelstad Pavilion.

“Let there be silence!” Davis boomed across the park so loudly that car alarms were surely at the brink of going off.

The tunes played on.

“Kill the music!” he yelled.

If anyone had dropped a pin, it would have sounded like a train wreck.

Satisfied, Davis told the crowd of 50 the ancient beginnings of Midsummer Fest celebrations, touching on the event’s pagan beginnings and Christian transformation in the process.

At the speech’s conclusion, the Vikings set the solstice fire ablaze and gave three mighty horn blasts before Davis announced, “Velkommen til Poulsbo! Velkommen til Midsummer Fest! Velkommen til all!”

With the fire crackling in the background, youngsters quickly lined up at the north end of the park for what Davis called “another ancient tradition” — the fish toss.

Five unfortunate (and very much dead) dogfish were given a quick inspection by local kids before being hefted and hurled down the lawn toward a galvanized tub. Cheers from the large crowd erupted whenever a fish struck home and slimy-handed children were plenty as the ancient tradition continued.

So were thoughts on the sport.

“I think this is what they did before bowling was invented,” one participant surmised.

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