A Leif festival for fall
Norway gets ready to celebrate, Viking-style
NORWAY — The city of Norway will celebrate Leif Erikson this weekend with its annual Fall Festival.
Oct. 9 is a day set aside to honor the Norse explorer who is believed to be the first European to reach North America.
The majority of the festivities will be outdoors, as there are still pandemic safety concerns, organizer Nancy Sundstrom said.
The extended weather forecast predicts good fall weather — perfect for the event, she added.
The celebration will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday on Main Street in downtown Norway.
Viking re-enactors once again will have a camp set up across from the city bandshell to share their history and provide a glimpse into the past.
Everyone is encouraged to walk through the camp, ask questions and take pictures.
At 11 a.m., the Viking re-enactors will present a combat demonstration at the bandshell.
The Day Dreamers will perform from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the bandshell. “They have played at Out To Lunch and Music in the Park this year and are a fan favorite,” Sundstrom said. “They are really good.”
They play a variety of cover songs and an occasional original, she added.
The city of Norway will announce its winners of the Public Safety Week prizes at 1:30 p.m. This will be only open to city residents who signed up to participate.
The crowning of Miss Norway and the Norse King will follow at 1:45 p.m.
The Leif Erikson parade steps off at 2 p.m. at Main Street and Fourth Avenue, near St. Mary Catholic Church.
Children will be able to make their own Viking costume, as well as one for their leashed pets, from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the children’s booth.
Every child in the parade that has a costume will receive a prize. “It’s going to be something they will like,” Sundstrom said.
Prizes also will be given out for adults and organization entries. “Prizes will consist of Viking bucks, which are redeemable at any Norway business,” Sundstrom said. All prizes will be handed out at the bandshell after the parade.
A “Taste of Norway” will feature several local restaurants and organizations offering a variety of foods until 4 p.m. next to the bandshell.
Wagon rides can be taken until 2 p.m. down Main Street.
Other highlights include the craft and vendor sale at the American Legion, 621 Main St.; and blacksmithing demonstrations and farmers market, both in the Veterans Park area on Main Street.
“This is the perfect opportunity to get pumpkins and fall produce,” Sundstrom said.
The event also will feature pony rides and a petting zoo for kids to enjoy.
New this year will be a tour of the city of Norway’s hydraulic dam. Busing will be provided, leaving from Main Street and Railroad Avenue near the Knight Owl. The first bus will leave at 2:30 p.m., with the last bus at 5 p.m. Tours and bus rides are free.
“They will also be providing free brats to those participating in the tour,” she said.
Those interested in the tours are asked to take the buses, as parking is very limited.
The dedication for Jake’s Cabin will take place at 10 a.m. at the Jake Menghini Historical Museum, 105 Odill Drive in Norway. After the dedication, all museum buildings can be toured until noon. Everyone is asked to wear a mask for entry. Admission is $5 for adults and free to students through high school.
Viking Day will conclude with a torchlight parade at 8 p.m. around Strawberry Lake to the Viking burial and funeral pyre reenactment. Participants are to meet at Knights Kingdom playground.
Adults should bring a flashlight to navigate the lake path and children will receive a free glowstick until supplies run out.
“This is fun for the whole family,” Sundstrom said.
On Sunday, the community can enjoy a “Breakfast Fit for a Viking” from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mike’s On Main.
The Leif Run will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday, which includes competitive 5K and 10K races as well as a 2-mile fun run/walk. The run begins at Marion Park on U.S. 8. Registration is required for the 5K and 10K races but not for the 2-mile fun run. Forms can be found at leiferiksonfest.com.
Many Norway businesses will have music, events and featured specials as well.
Donations from the Curtis J. Brackett Memorial Fund and Norway’s Downtown Development Association help make the festival possible.
“After canceling last year, we are just glad that we are able to have the event,” Sundstrom said. “Next year, we plan to be bigger and better.”