UW-Green Bay hosts the Midwest’s largest Viking Festival

A reenactor blows on a Viking horn during a demonstration at the Midwest Viking Festival at the UW-Green Bay Viking House grounds.
A reenactor blows on a Viking horn during a demonstration at the Midwest Viking Festival at the UW-Green Bay Viking House grounds. UW-Green Bay, Sue Pischke University Photographer


Green Bay, WI — On Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7, Vikings from near and far will gather and raise an encampment on the UW-Green Bay Viking House grounds (near Wood Hall) on the Green Bay campus. This will be UW-Green Bay’s second year hosting the Midwest’s largest Viking festival. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to attend and open to the public.

This year, more than sixty Vikings will set up a large camp to demonstrate blacksmithing, silversmithing, wood carving and turning, textile arts, glass bead making, cooking, storytelling, singing, archery, and battle reenactments. This is an all-ages festival with activities for kids as well (archery, a Viking Quest, and kubb). This year’s festival will also host numerous new events, such as a performance from Telge Glima and demonstrations from rune and flute making expert Kari Tauring. There will also be a local farm bringing their reindeer to display. With even more events on the docket, and a higher projected attendance, the festival is expected to continue to grow.

Unique to this year’s festival, the UW-Green Bay Teaching Press will be launching a new book on the Viking House at 4:30 p.m. on October 4 in Wood Hall on the UW-Green Bay campus. Guests can RSVP here. The new book, titled The Viking House Saga: A Journey into Experiential Archeology at UW-Green Bay and co-authored by Professor Heidi Sherman and Owen Christianson, chronicles how the Viking House was built. It details how the Viking House provides hands-on learning experiences and community engagement for UW-Green Bay. The book will be available for purchase at the event and during the festival.

Viking festivals are celebrations of Scandinavian history and culture. With nearly 3,000 people joining in on the celebrations last year, the festival aims to educate on the daily life of the Scandinavian region from a thousand years ago. The educational emphasis of the Midwest Viking Festival sets it apart from other festivals around the country. UW-Green Bay Professor Heidi Sherman, director of the Viking House and organizer of the Midwest Viking Festival, stresses the educational focus of the festival. “Our festival is based on archeology, so we really stay away from stereotypes that you find in the modern media.”

Through education, the Midwest Viking Festival carries vital importance for the region. Thousands of people in the Upper Midwest have ancestry from Scandinavian countries, attributed to the large influx of Scandinavian immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prof. Sherman discusses the importance for all, not just those of Scandinavian descent— “we don’t want to forget that we came from somewhere else” she says. “It is a great way to see how history can be really exciting, sharing about everyday struggles and joys of daily life, and how people lived in that time.”

Members of the media are welcome to attend. View the full weekend schedule.

About UW-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving more than 9,600 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students and 80,000 continuing education learners each year. We educate students from pre- college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2021, UW-Green Bay was the fastest-growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


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