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Viking Fest will pop into Poulsbo Friday

POULSBO — With less than 72 hours before the 37th annual Viking Fest kicks off, festival organizers remain as cool and confident as Jack Bauer from Fox’s hit show “24,” as all indicators are that this year’s festival could be the biggest yet.

“From my understanding, it’s going to be nice this weekend and we’re hoping it’s a good weekend for families to come out and enjoy the festival,” said Viking Fest Corporation Secretary Kathi Foresee.

Even with periods of rain predicted this week, including a day long deluge today and a chance of showers on Friday, forecasters are predicting that this weekend will see the sun’s return with partly cloudy skies Saturday and clear skies Sunday. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60s with nighttime temps dropping into the mid 40s.

With preparations for this year’s festival in full swing, organizers are pushing ahead despite the rain. Final set-up is not scheduled to begin in earnest until Thursday afternoon.

“Everything is going as planned and the carnival will be pulling in on Wednesday,” Foresee said, noting that the carnival organizers won’t actually begin setting up until Thursday afternoon.

But once set-up begins, Foresee said she expects festival-goers will see something new.

“They’ve got a couple of new things that they’re pretty excited about bringing to us this year,” she said.

The carnival is set to kick off at 4 p.m. May 20 but wristbands will remain on sale at Viking Bank on Highway 305 until noon that day. If carnival-goers, who want to buy presale wristbands, can’t make it to the bank during normal business hours, Foresee said they can call the Viking Fest line at (360) 779-FEST and arrangements will be made.

While opening ceremonies and the carnival get the festival going on Friday evening, organizers have added a couple of new wrinkles to the parade, which begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“We’ve added another announcing booth near the Golden Dragon on Front Street and we’ve probably got about 10 to 12 new entries that we haven’t had in the past,” Foresee said.

The other announcing booth will be at its traditional location near Nilsen’s Appliance Center on Front Street.

Leading the 85-entry parade will be a Color Guard from a U.S. Marine unit based out of Fort Lewis that recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.

“These are the same Marines we honored at the Miss Viking Fest Pageant and they’re pretty excited about it,” she said. “We feel blessed and privileged to have them in this year’s parade.”

The parade will begin at Lions Park (Fjord Drive and 6th Avenue) and travel down Front Street and end on Sunset Street.

Another highlight of the parade will be an appearance by Bruce King from Poulsbo RV, a longtime sponsor of Viking Fest, Foresee said.

In addition to the numerous events scheduled throughout the weekend, festival-goers can expect a plethora of tummy-tempting treats and hand-crafted goods from vendors and local businesses.

“We’ll have a pretty big array of vendors and all of our booth space is taken and has been for a while,” she said.

With a huge influx of people expected in the city for the festival, Kitsap Transit is once again offering free shuttle service throughout the weekend along two different routes. Buses run approximately every 15 minutes.

One shuttle route will begin at North Kitsap Junior High School on Hostmark and stop at the Poulsbo Inn and the Poulsbo Senior Center on Front Street, heading up Iverson and turning on 8th Avenue before returning to the junior high.

The route will run from 6 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on Friday.

The other route will begin the Poulsbo Village and make stops at the Holiday Inn Express and the Poulsbo Transfer Center. On Friday, it will run from 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. It will stop at the St. Charles Church Park and Ride on Saturday and Sunday only.

Both routes will run from 10 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Both will stop at Christ Memorial Church on Saturday only.

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