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It’s a Nordic invasion!

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History hasn’t been kind to the Vikings, what with the talk of pillage and destruction (it’s exaggerated!). But two events next week can change that.

Start with the annual Viking Fest on May 16 at Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge. This year’s theme? “Touched by the Vikings” (which is perhaps not the best theme when you’re trying to dodge the “pillage” label).

The festival will feature rides, Scandinavian crafts, Swedish folk dancers and Turkish drummers. There will also be pickled herring and fiskepudding (but you knew that!).

“Our goal is to share Scandinavian culture with the larger community,” said Victoria Hofmo, founder of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum. “It will be educational and kitsch.”

A little less kitsch, alas; one of the highlights, a half-size replica Viking ship, was cancelled this year (apparently, even Viking descendents are feeling the recession).

The next day is the Norwegian Constitution Day Parade, which culminates in the official crowning of Miss Norway of Greater New York.

Beauty queens? Maybe the Vikings weren’t so fearsome after all.

Viking Fest at Owls Head Park (68th Street and Colonial Road in Bay Ridge), Saturday, May 16, noon-5 pm. Free. For info, call (718) 748-5950; Constitution Day Parade (begins at 90th Street and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge and marches up to Leif Erikson Park, 67th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues), May 17, 1:30 pm. Free. For info, call (718) 745-6653.

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Reader Feedback

Quietly Amused from Bay Ridge says:
Ummmmm...

A Scandinavian culturefest would be perfectly OK -- minus the "touched by the Viklings" bit.
... because some of us of "touched-by" ancestry just can't get too rah-rah-enthused about that.
May 5, 2009, 4:34 pm
Ed from Sunset Park says:
Quietly Amused from Bay Ridge says: 'some of us of "touched-by" ancestry just can't get too rah-rah-enthused about that.'

My ancestors weren't Viking-'touched' (that I know of)
Even so, I think this a hysterically funny concept/spin/euphemism!
May 5, 2009, 4:51 pm
joey bots from Bath Beach says:
Why was I blessed with this musical talent?
May 5, 2009, 5:42 pm
allen from south brooklyn says:
rotflmao re all of this.
joey b., maybe your genes got touched by a musical viking.
May 5, 2009, 7:26 pm
Daniel from BR says:
OOOO, FISKEPUDDING! creamy chipped haddock!
That's almost as appealing as a Scottish Haggis Party.
(All of this makes me nostalgic for the Greeks' church-fair food. Wish my ethnic group cooked that kinda stuff.)
May 6, 2009, 4:49 am
Andrew from Oslo says:
The Vikings didn't just pillage, they settled and became part of the nations they conquered.

From Ireland, the UK to Normandy in France. The very capital of Ireland, Dublin, is a Norwegian Viking city!

I'm sorry to see that people reading this don't know much about the Vikings at all. The stereotype of Viking pillage and plunder is a fairytale (or nightmare) dreamt up by the munks.

Forget the fiskepudding, you eat our *oil* just fine! :)

Have a nice parade anyway!
May 6, 2009, 8:43 am
jazz from BKLYN says:
Miss Norway can pillage me anytime she wants!
May 6, 2009, 10:54 am
Alec from Dyker Hts says:
Andrew from Oslo says: "I'm sorry to see that people reading this don't know much about the Vikings at all. The stereotype of Viking pillage and plunder is a fairytale (or nightmare) dreamt up by the munks."

Lighten up! I'm part-Swedish, my cousins are half-Norwegian, and even *we* see the humor in this!

Yes, the Vikings' sci-fi-evil image has been exaggerated, but they did a *whole* lot of unwanted touching, which wasn't fantasized by malicious monks.

*Every* cultural group has historical gray areas, and puts a good spin on them -- but perspective helps, especially when you're pitching it to groups outside your own.

So I agree that the "touched by the Vikings" phrase is kooky. It literally *screams* "euphemism," so raises issues (and comic possibilities) that wouldn't ordinarily exist. There *had* to be a better way to pitch it.
May 6, 2009, 4:08 pm
Gersh from Park Slope, baby says:
Look, I know I shouldn't say this, but I loved "Jazz from Bklyn's" comment. It just had a nice Borscht-Belt, bada-bing quality to it.

Nice job.

GERSH KUNTZMAN
Editor
The Brooklyn Paper
May 7, 2009, 2:28 am

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