Poulsbo celebrates Julefest

Vikings wait for the Lucia Bride to light the bonfire.  - Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald
Vikings wait for the Lucia Bride to light the bonfire.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald

POULSBO — Braving a chill fit for a frost giant, Poulsbo gathered for its seasonal tradition of honoring its Norwegian roots, and lighting up the night.

Temperatures were sharply heading toward a low of 10 degrees as Julefest was getting under way on the evening of Dec. 7 at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park. Locals gathered to greet Miss Poulsbo Makenzie Moody and pageant royalty from Silverdale and Kitsap. Christmas carols were sung in Norwegian — courtesy of Vestre Sund Mannskor — from “Jingle Bells” to “Jingle Bell Rock.” And the crowd danced three times around a Christmas tree under the park gazebo.

"We're gonna ask that all children from the age of 2 to 122 come up and walk around the Christmas tree," said Robert Moseng of the Sons of Norway. Moseng led the festivities until the big event — the march of the Lucia Bride and the lighting of the bonfire.

"This is a 'Norwinglish' tradition," Moseng said, noting Poulsbo's practice is a bit different from similar traditions.

"The tradition in Poulsbo is slightly unique. Vikings escort the Lucia Bride,” he said.

Finally, as the light dimmed behind the Olympics, and even colder temperatures set in, the Lucia Bride — Sons of Norway Queen Breanna Bolliger — made her way through the crowd. Crowned with light, and with torches to light the way, Bolliger settled at the side of the fire pit with a horde of Vikings.

Magnus the Wide, bard and orator for the Vikings, led the lighting and once the pit was set ablaze he let out a call on his horn.

But the night was not over as the fire warmed the crowd. The "most famous elf," as Magnus put it, Santa Claus, arrived on a fire truck to make a special visit to Poulsbo.

Then there was nothing more to do than for neighbors to huddle up and face the fire.

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