Viking Feast

headtableA Midsummer Night’s Feast

I risked attending the Viking feast in Gimli. It is the New Iceland Heritage Museum’s annual fund raiding gala. I wasn’t sure it was being held in the Lakeview Hotel but about twenty feet from the door, I could smell the Icelandic hardfish and I knew I was in the right place. Sure enough, just inside the door of the banquet room, there was a large platter of flat bread and another of dried fish. On the way to the feast, I stopped in Tergesen’s and bought a Viking helmet . I thought there would have been a forest of viking helmets but I was the only male in the audience with appropriate head gear. Good thing I didn’t go full bore and turn up with a sword, battle axe, and chain mail. I think the lack of Viking helmets was because the audience was older, respectable, could afford forty-five dollars for a ticket, five bucks for cutlery, ten bucks for the silent auction, twenty bucks for booze. That’s eighty bucks and if you are twenty years old and making minimum wage that’s more than a day’s wages. You are more likely to be serving the food than eating it.

We were told there was the danger of trolls appearing so I bought a rune stone. There also were rune stones on the tables. The stones came from the local beach. I thought back to some of the trolls I worked with over the years and wished I’d thought to paint runes on stones from Gimli beach to protect myself.

The evening began with the blowing of a horn. We had a welcome in verse to the village by the Skald (Nick Burdey), remarks by Jarl Ragnar of the Red (Dean Bjornson), toast to the Jarl by Torgeir, the Swedish right hand of the Jarl (Terry Vezina), lots of Skols,(the two best were to Tammy Axelsson and to the kitchen wenches), the Warrior Bard who was sabotaged by the musical equipment when he went do his barding (Ari Jakobson), the Spa Kona (Helga Malis) who every so often rose to pronounce wise Viking sayings. I opted to pay for a knife, fork and spoon. I guess I could have drunk my soup from the bowl, eaten my potato and carrot and ribs with my hands, which would have been more authentic, but terribly messy so I ponied up a couple of bucks to eat like the English.

As part of the entertainment, there was an airing of grievances, the funniest one being the grievance registered to the MP of the area because Edmonton has direct flights to Iceland and the trip from Winnipeg to Edmonton is too long. The request was that the MP ask Parliament to get rid of Saskatchewan to make the trip shorter. There was also a settling of accounts and the risk of having to wear the Viking helmet of shame, a helmet with large horns decorated with flowers. I must say that Bill Barlow made a great Troll even though his nose kept falling off. I couldn’t eat the dessert of Ponnukokur or the rocky troll bits that were sponsored by Gimli Super A Foods. It is obvious from the program that that the Vikings plundered many local businesses so they could have their feast. I won some of the plunder in the silent auction and now have a box full of attractive items from Amma’s Kitchen. Once the feast was over, people donned Viking costumes to wear for photographs.