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Viking ship lands in Ridge

The Brooklyn Paper

Hide the woman and children; a band of Vikings is headed our way. But don’t worry, they’re not here to pillage — they’re just promoting Scandinavian heritage.

Owls Head Park will be the site of this year’s Viking Festival on May 19. The free event will showcase not one, but two, re-enactment organizations donning full Viking garb (don’t expect horned helmets; they’re a myth, it turns out), rides for young plunderers, food (what in the name of Eric the Red did Vikings eat, anyway?), and tables selling handmade Scandinavian crafts.

This year’s theme, “Touched by the Vikings,” will include music and dance inspired by countries from North America to the Middle East, that had the pleasurable (and sometimes most un-pleasurable) experience of a close encounter of the Viking kind.

But what would a Viking festival be without a mighty wooden vessel? A replica Viking ship will even be on hand for the event.

“The ship is over 20-feet-long,” said Helena Bakke who owns Nordic Delicacies at 6909 Third Ave. “The children love to sit in the ship just like the Vikings did.”

Bakke, who has lived in Brooklyn since 1958, remembers Bay Ridge when it was filled with Norwegian immigrants who had escaped their then-impoverished homeland.

“When I first arrived, people spoke Norweigian everywhere,” Bakke said. “But since they knocked down all those houses to put the Verrazano Bridge up, the number of Nordics in Bay Ridge has been in steady decline.

“The fact that Norway is doing well today is another reason people aren’t immigrating here anymore,” Bakke added.

The Scandinavian East Coast Museum heritage festival will be held in Owls Head Park (Colonial Road and 68th Street entrance) on May 19 from noon to 5 pm. Call (718) 748-5950 for information.

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