A Viking Festival in Southern California

This weekend Vista had a Viking Festival. Not sure what the connection is, but they have this festival every year, hosted by the "Norwegian Fish Club Odin and Norge Lodge of Sons of Norway" - that's a mouthful. My knowledge of Viking is limited and corrupted by TV, so I didn't know what to expect besides beards and horns. And there were a lot of those! Some vendors sold jewelry, some sold wood carving, some sold swords, but almost every vendor sold drinking horns.
Judging by the vendor booths, Viking culture was a mix of Swedish, Nordic and Celtic. Most of the booths were constructed with big Celtic cloths, and a lot of the jewelry designs included Celtic knots. 
The guests took it a step farther, getting their clothing inspiration from Celtic, Renaissance Fairs, pirates and Steampunk. A very popular item was feathered headdresses; I doubt if any Viking wore those!

There are always vendors at festivals, but this event had a lot of interesting and educational things going on, too. There were demonstrations for spinning, baking and weaponry. The participants had tents set up for the weekend, with interiors as accurate as possible. I would have loved to have this chair: 
There was a line for the ax-throwing lessons. When a little tyke about 4 years old came up, I wondered if they would give him an ax, but they did. When he threw, his instructor reached around and put his own hand between the ax and the child's ear, just in case, but there were no accidents.
It was hot, hot, hot, but that didn't stop the participants from donning full-body costumes and heavy metal armor to do battle. There were half a dozen warriors, taking turns so nobody collapsed from heat exhaustion.
Like any good festival, food was an important part. We tried some scones first. The vendor used period tools and ingredients, and cooked them in authentic clay ovens. 
Our scone was a little burned, and it was still so good that we went back later and got another one! Next we tried Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and the obligatory side of Lignonberry; it was all very good. 
Less impressive was the Lefse, which is a very thin flatbread (like a crepe) made from mashed potatoes, flour and milk. It's served with butter, sugar and cimmamon and it tasted OK, but I would have liked it better with Nutella.  

We sat outside to eat, listening to a band behind us play some great music. A second stage in another area also hosted bands. This one got their costumes wrong and just repeated a chorus of "Rape, Kill, Burn and Slaughter!", but they did it with such enthusiasm that they made it sound funny - what good Vikings they would have made! 

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