We had so much fun at ScanFest last year that we decided to go again this year and have been looking forward to it all week. Despite thunderstorms this morning we had a much better weather experience, and thus overall time, this year. It was hot and humid, but not raining. There are a couple of great things about this festival. First, all the vendors are selling either goods from Scandinavia, or otherwise things directly related (i.e., t-shirts or Viking helmets.) Second, it’s in a fascinating place-Vasa Park. Which is in strange exotic New Jersey-a small neighborhood of small houses close together, and I can only assume everyone is Scandinavian and belongs to the association and hangs out in the meeting hall or swimming in the pool and it’s like being in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, or Finland. We enjoyed good food-Swedish meatballs, Swedish pancakes, and some kind of Scandinavian sausage sandwich with some kind of Scandinavian mustard and onions on it that was out of this world delicious. The kids wore their Viking helmets from last year and fit right in with all the other helmet wearers.
There were also lots of people in traditional costume, some face painters, lots of t-shirts about either Vikings or being from one of the Scandinavian countries, and some standouts, such as the baby carriage made to look like a Viking ship, and the Norway pants.
There was great music, including an Abba band and a Finnish/Norwegian duo called The Blue and the Blond, who played fascinating traditional instruments. The Viking longboat was an attraction, of course, as was the medieval combat demonstration.
We enjoyed trying on the helmets they wore (which weighed 22 lbs.)
And a big attraction was the wife carrying competition. Last year it was raining and there wasn’t a big audience, but this year there was a nice big crowd cheering the participants on and groaning in unison when they fell, The rules are that you carry a wife around an obstacle course, but it doesn’t have to be your wife, and the fastest couple wins the wife’s weight in beer. People either held the women upside down over their backs, piggy back, or even on just one shoulder. And one very brave woman carried her husband!!
They determined the winning beer by having the wife sit on one end of a board that was atop a cinder block and then piled the cases of beer on the other end until she rose in the air.