They were ferocious warriors, famous for their terrifying seaborne attacks and amazing shipbuilding abilities. 1200 years ago they came cruising out of the cold Baltic and North Atlantic to wreck havoc on unsuspecting villages and towns in the west, south and east. For a few days in August, Ballard, along with thousands of curious Seattlites will see a more diverse side of the Vikings: for the 31st annual Viking Days at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Viking Days is a mark of summer in Ballard, and this year is no exception. The festival on August 16-17 at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard will feature Nordic entertainment, food, activities and a whole lot of Vikings. Entrance to Viking Days is free, and there is free admission to the museum during the festival.
Both Saturday and Sunday will begin with a traditional Swedish pancake breakfast at 9 a.m., and the rest of the festival will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday night’s salmon BBQ runs from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features alder-smoked salmon and live music.

To experience a little of Viking life first hand, Viking Days attendees need only look to the Viking Encampment. All day and into the evening, there will be demonstrations in everything from cooking, weaving and woodcarving to weapon forging and a battle re-enactment—visitor participation welcome.

Throughout the festival, delicacies from each of the five Nordic countries will be available for purchase, including Swedish meatballs, Norwegian lefse, Danish aebleskiver, Finnish voileipä (open-faced sandwiches) and Icelandic sweets like vinarterta, a delicious layer cake. At the Valhalla Beer Garden, there will be grilled sausages and beer from Carlsberg and Odin Brewing Company for sale.

As always, music is a major component of the festival weekend. Dozens of groups, ranging from traditional folk to rock, will be playing on multiple stages around the museum. In addition, local merchants will sell Nordic, local and handcrafted items.
The family-friendly event will also include low-cost craft projects for kids and the Nordic Spirit ship will be set up for close inspection and photos.

Run ‘like a Viking’
Brand new this year, the museum will host the “Run Like a Viking 5K” at Golden Gardens Park. The run kicks off the 31st Viking Days.Registration is open for the run. Viking-inspired costumes are encouraged for runners. Gun time for the race is 9 a.m. August 16. The run will be chip timed and the field is limited to 500 participants.
After the run, all 5K participants are encouraged to attend Viking Days.
Admission to both Viking Days and the museum is free for all ages. Viking Days is a great weekend to view the exhibition Danish Modern: Design for Living, in its final two weeks on display. The museum is located at 3014 NW 67th Street, Seattle, WA 98117.