The Icelandic Festival began today. There’ll be four days of music, speeches, sand castle building, races, beach volleyball. There’ll be an impressive Icelandic women’s choir called Kvennakór Akureyrar. I know, it looks quite impossible but it just says the Akureyri Women´s Choir.

The Viking village was supposed to be up and running today at 3 p.m. on the hill overlooking the lake. Right now, there´s a thunderstorm in progress, the usual things that come with thunderstorms, lightening, thunder, pounding rain but, at least, no wind.At 7:30, Diageo, the local producer of fine whiskey, is sponsoring a musical event, Islindingarok, at the Gimli pier. However, thunderstorms are usually brief events, like summer romances, fierce, intense, and then over. By 7:30, the sky could be clear and the bands, Little House, Happy Unfortunate and Cannon Bros. could be rocking the harbour.

I’ve been hanging around the Reykjavik Bakery. It’s a great place to see people. Gail Einarson-McLeery turned up, joined our table. She’s last year’s president of the Icelandic National League.

Three guesses, how you know that that’s an Icelandic cookie made by non other than Birgir Robertsson at the Reykjavik Bakery in Gimli, Manitoba in the heart of New Iceland at Íslendingadagurinn?

Here’s Birgir. He’s from Iceland. Teaching people to enjoy European style sweets and New Iceland favorites like kleinur and vinarterta. If you stop for kaffi, it’ll be strong, Icelanders are famous for their addiction to kaffi, except they’ve quit making it in a poki, we always said it was an old sock but it was actually a cotton bag on a wire frame and predated the current paper filters in plastic holders, and you’ll find the menu on the tables, not a menu at all, but the Icelandic alphabet with the pronunciation of the letters.

The rain will stop and while you are waiting, scoff up Lake Winnipeg pickerel fillets at the Beach Boy, slurp back good kaffi at the bakery, visit friends, make new ones.The party can start indoors. Tomorrow it’ll be beach and sand, beach volleyball, a pizza eating contest, Islendingadunk, viking warfare tactics, and Music on the Rooftop.

The rain has stopped. Let the music begin.