The first Nisswa Viking Festival was a little bit of a gamble, though organizers were confident they could draw a crowd of at least 500 to the event Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Nisswa Pioneer Village.

They managed almost twice that.

“It was successful beyond our wildest imagination,” said coordinator Julie Guth. “We had over 900 people who came through. For a first-time event, that is amazing.”

Guth said the weather helped to ensure the event's success, but ultimately the crowd raved about the Viking crafts, the storyteller and battle re-creations. The whole event was focused on educating those present on Viking history, and Guth said she ran into attendees during meals after the event who couldn't stop talking about it.

“Everyone had a lot of fun and people said they learned things about Vikings they had no clue about prior to the festival,” Guth said. “We wanted an event that was fun but also educational.”

One of the most flashy parts of the event was the re-enactment of Viking battle styles.

“They did it so it wasn't scary to kids and they engaged the audience,” Guth said. “I had seen that performance at another Viking festival and that's what made me feel like that could be a good fit for our festival.”

The event was inspired by similar events elsewhere. After a trip to Norway and attending a Viking festival in another community, Guth thought the local Sons of Norway might be interested in sponsoring one in Nisswa.

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KLICK! Photo Gallery - Nisswa Viking Festival

56 photos - Klick to view (or buy reprints)!

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“I brought it up to our Sons of Norway board and several social meetings,” Guth said. “People were interested, so we decided to pursue it. They thought it would be great too.”

The popularity of the event could bring it back again.

“I think it's certain we will be doing this again,” Guth said. “It was extremely popular.”