Next Wednesday marks the beginning of the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival in York. The event is a week-long celebration of viking culture, including York’s rich viking history. The festival, now in its 35th year, takes place across the city and is affiliated with the recently refurbished JORVIK Viking Centre.
The festival’s showpiece finale events take place on the weekend of 22-24 February. They include the annual competition to decide the ‘Strongest Viking’, a march to Coppergate, and a ‘Best Beard’ contest.
On the Saturday evening there will be a ‘Battle Spectacular’ show taking place on the Eye of York, at the foot of Clifford’s Tower. The performance will involve a host of performers and fire displays to recreate a great historical spectacle.
The other events taking place over the week include workshops covering skills from ‘needle knitting’ to Norse tablet weaving, as well as multiple sword battle workshops.
The large number of classes, talks and shows on offer is testament to the fact the JORVIK Viking Festival is recognised as the largest event of its kind in Europe.
Each year, the festival is centred around a different theme, with this year’s being ‘The Untold Story of Women in the Viking Age’. Beth Dawes, marketing man- ager for JORVIK Viking Centre, says: “Viking women have always played a big role in the JORVIK Viking Festival, reflecting their roles in Viking society where they often joined their men on voyages, and, like the women who kept the country running efficiently when men were sent off to fight in the World Wars, working the land and organising family affairs when men were away for prolonged periods. This year, the time is right to tell the story of the extraordinary women that wielded power and influence across the Viking world.”