Vikings will seize Whitestown this weekend as the town’s newest park hosts Viking Fest, a three-day celebration of the seafaring people that dominated western Europe from the eighth until the eleventh century. The festival—a collaboration between Noble Order Brewing, J&J Winery, and Whitestown Parks and Recreation—will serve as a sneak-peek of 15-acre Anson Park, which the town acquired in January and has yet to develop. Though this is the fifth year Noble Order and J&J have hosted the event, it’s in Whitestown for the first time. It features an immersive Viking village, a plethora of combat reenactors, traditional games, live music, and more.
1) It’s not just about giant turkey legs and mead.
Don’t worry, Noble Order is bringing their popular mead, but the company has something else up its sleeve: a new kriek beer. The Belgian fruit sour is flavored with cherries and exclusive to the festival. Other beverages, including cider for the kids, will be on-hand, as well. Meaty provisions include a hog roasted on site by Lizton-based Rusted Silo and offerings from His Lordship’s Beef. On Sunday, a Viking breakfast spread will bring the event to a close.
2) Vikings without combat are just sailors.
The war horns will sound as chain-mail-wearing combatants carrying swords and shields charge at each other for a good, very old-fashioned fight. Three separate reenactment groups are tasked with doing the job. Multiple battles are scheduled for each day of the festival.
3) There will be Kubb.
Pronounced “koob,” it’s said that Vikings used the skulls and femurs of their enemies to play this grisly game after conquering a village. The festival’s variant is a decidedly more wholesome, modern take on the 1,000-year-old sport players call a mix of bowling, bocce ball, and horseshoes. Instead of the bones of fallen adversaries, the pieces will be made of wood.
4) It’s family-friendly, but no pooches allowed.
In addition to Kubb and the battle demonstrations, there will be fire jugglers, archers, falconers, and axe throwing demonstrations to add to the spectacle. Reenactors in the village will ply age-old trades the ways the Vikings did. And on Saturday, visitors can test their might in a keg throwing competition, or at least watch people throw their backs out trying. But the family will have to do all that without Fido, because hybrid wolves will be afoot.
5) Cosplay encouraged.
Horned helmets aren’t necessary, but if you’ve been dying to break out the leather boots, shawls, or chain-mail in your closet, this is the time. Turn up the dial with war paint courtesy of a face painter and memorialize your Hagar the Horrible, or Helga, with a caricature artist. And if you don’t already have the gear? There will be plenty of vendors to remedy that.
Viking Fest — Anson Park (4671 Anson Boulevard, Whitestown) from 4 – 10 p.m. April 20, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. April 21, and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. April 22. Admission is free.