Viking Fest : 41 and full of fun

POULSBO — May's glowing sun and cloudless skies would be an unfamiliar sight in North Kitsap without an end-of-month Viking-clad celebration below.

The 41st Viking Fest begins Friday, and will fill the streets of downtown Poulsbo through Sunday.

A limited number of wristbands — permitting unlimited rides at the Viking Fest Carnival in the King Olaf parking lot — are being sold until 4 p.m. Friday at Viking Bank in Poulsbo. The cost is $17.

Later, semifinalists in the second annual Viking Fest Karaoke Contest will belt their best at The Loft, a new restaurant at the south end of Anderson Parkway. There are a few Wild Card slots available for the taking, according to a Viking Fest press release. Pre-registration begins at 8 p.m. The finals will be at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Viking Fest, a Syttende mai celebration of Norway's Constitution Day, is traditionally a Norwegian festival of flags and colorful processions, an event press release states. The day commemorates the 195th anniversary of the adoption by Norway's parliament of its own constitution on May 17, 1814.

A Viking Fest parade will Saturday from 2-4 p.m. The parade's Grand Marshal will be Norman Douglas "Norm" Johnson, a former professional football placekicker who played 18 seasons in the National Football League. Johnson finished his 18 NFL seasons with 366 of 477 field goals and, as of 2007, he ranks fifth on the NFL's list of all-time leading scorers. His performance on the gridiron earned him the nickname "Mr. Automatic," during his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks, a Viking Fest release states.

Johnson's feats on the football field pale in comparison to his real-life heroism. He's been called a local hero as well: On Dec. 10, 2007, he rescued a woman whose car had rolled over an icy Kitsap road and was partially submerged in a waterway. Johnson freed her by breaking one of the car's windows with a rock.

Shuttle Service

Shuttles to the weekend's festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday only. Buses will pickup passengers at Poulsbo’s high school, junior high, and elementary school and proceed directly downtown. Fare — new this year in light of the down economy — is $2 roundtrip per person. Children 5 and younger ride for free, and those with a Kitsap Transit Reduced Fare ID can ride for $1. Monthly passes will also be accepted. Each paying passenger will be given a Return Ticket that will allow them to return to the parking lot at no cost.

For more on this weekend's festivities, check out "An amalgamation of celebrations" in this week's edition of What's Up.

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