A Viking Festival is held the last weekend of each April in Ashville, Ohio, a small town 30 minutes south of downtown Columbus, Ohio, USA. Although the festival is compact, it is filled with everything you could want in a celebration of Viking and Nordic culture, including living history demos, full equestrian events, a highly populated, high-quality merchants’ area, four stages of entertainment, and a feast hall.
And the folk in attendance provide a show in themselves! 🙂 It did this Viking reenactor’s heart good to be surrounded by so many like-minded Scandinavian-style raiders, traders, farmers, explorers and settlers. ❤
The irony for me was that for once I was NOT in my Viking garb! I did actually dress the part this morning, but then felt under the weather and canceled Christa’s and my trip to the festival and returned to bed. Fifteen minutes later I felt revived and called her back to say our adventure was back on! But my garb stayed in the closet. Here’s how I looked first thing in the morning at home:
And here’s how I looked at Viking Fest standing next to the runestone:
Unfortunately my phone camera was acting up for the two hours that Christa and I were there, and it gave up the ghost completely long before we finished our perusal of the booths. Our stay at Viking Fest was somewhat foreshortened because the weather was cold, blustery, and rain threatened.
Had we been there on a nicer day, we could have spent many more hours happily entertained and indulging ourselves in purchases that, while they may not have been strictly necessary, certainly do add to the quality of life. And in a most Viking way! 🙂
Tomorrow, Sunday, when Viking Fest continues, will be much warmer and nicer. Be there, or be square. ❤
So here’s what we saw, in a more or less chronological manner, although foreshortened by camera death (which happily has since reversed itself!).
First, some reenactors happily cooking and trying to stay warm (a theme of the day).
Then some medieval/Renaissance musicians, who struck a chord in me (sorry, I just could not resist that sorry pun!):
But then my eye was caught by…..HATS!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
I am a hatoholic. 😛
These glorious chapeaus were at a booth called Annie Laurie Cloaks, after Proprietor Daria Porter’s grandmother. Here is the link to Her website.
Daria’s granddaughter was at the booth helping out. Her name is spelled “Zooey,” not “Zoe.” “Zooey,” as in Franny and Zooey, the short story and novella by J.D. Salinger, later published together as a book. An arcane fact known to us old English majors. LOL. 😛
I first read these works along with Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. Both those now-tattered volumes still sit somewhere on my disorganized bookshelves.
The contemporary Zooey remarked how most people only associate Salinger with Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero of The Catcher in the Rye, a standard selection in college-prep high school classrooms around the country in recent decades. But back in my high school days, in the 1960’s, that book was way too risque to be assigned reading in school.
But back to Viking Fest!
Here are some of the other wonderful things at Annie Laurie’s:
After Annie Laurie’s, Christa and I moved on to the Greentree Weaving booth:
Margaret Fischer, proprietor and master weaver, had some gorgeous items on display. See her website here.
Then it was on to a shop that fabricated the most ingenious garments of leather:
Its proprietor/designer/fabricator, in the hat, and his sales associate, whose names unfortunately I have forgotten:
And some of their wares:
All this good stuff, plus their booth smelled most deliciously of LEATHER! 😛
Next to Crimson Chain Leatherworks was a booth whose name I didn’t discover, but I enjoyed their colorful cloaks:
Then Christa and I discovered the delightful Bridgit and her husband and her booth, Bridgit’s Bath, L.L.C.
Here is the line to the shop online: Bridgit’s Bath.
I’m afraid that as a photographer today I was not a good friend. This is the only even-partial picture I got of Christa, here with Bridgit:
Next we went under a covered area, where I discovered another pet fascination of mine: spoons! Back during the Harry Potter conference at The Ohio State University last year, I succumbed to a couple of spoons that I later gave to my very good friend Tim Porges, who I went to Grinnell College. See Art, Harry Potter, New Books & Things. But here at Viking Fest, I discovered the delightfully-named shop, Half-Axed Spoons. See the link to the shop’s website here.
I was able to persuade Wolf (aka Marie Smith) to hold a most unusual spoon for me that was made from a sassafras limb that had collapsed on the roof of her house (!).
My camera had died by then, so I didn’t get a shot of the spoon, but to describe it in words, I would say that it is a large, shallow spoon that bends gracefully to the left as it proceeds from the handle to its bowl. I’ve never seen the like before.
Later I got my camera to operate, for about two minutes, and managed to get this shot of Wolf, but by that time my spoon had been put away for safekeeping:
At another booth, Christa managed to get some shots of some wonderful blades for me on her phone. Because, yes, I am also fascinated by fine knives. (Is there anything that I am NOT fascinated by? Sometimes I wonder… lol).
Pastor Alan Blackwood, proprietor of Omega Blades, was kind enough to indulge me at length while I tested various knives for weight, balance, and quality of workmanship (which was uniformly superior). I finally distilled my “must-have” knives to these two. Unfortunately my budget doesn’t agree that I must have either one. But it is good to dream!
A look at some of his other wares:
Nice blades indeed! ❤
We visited a soap-only booth, where you could get a bar of soap cut from a long length of it before your very eyes. But this was while my camera was dead, so you only get to see the final product that I got, a bar of coconut lemon grass all-natural soap:
The folks here at the Elder Forest booth were the happiest of the many very happy merchants that we encountered today. They ribbed the man who sold me my soap, and their jests went right over his head as he waited on me. His spacing-out, or focusin, in turn caused them yet more mirth. 🙂
You can find Katherine Boyce’s website for Elder Forest here.
I also broke down and purchased an amazingly light bowl hewn from a gourd. That light weight will be so nice when I’m carting around my Feast gear at SCA events.
Of course, no bowl is safe from Ophelia’s inspection. It might contain food! 😛
During our travels as Viking Fest, Christa and I encountered the booth of Josef Matulich, author. One of his titles is Power Tools in the Sacred Grove, about which he says that, “The comedy of sex, magick and power tools continues in the sequel to ‘Camp Arcanum.’ ”
While wandering around the merchant area at Viking Fest, I took the opportunity to pass out my own two-sided business card, which is purple, of course. Because you never do know when someone might need a Medieval harper or Viking studies teacher. Who you gonna call? Not Ghostbusters! 😉
The real highlight of the day for me came at Ursula’s Alcove:
While Christa tried on some of the quirky but cute boiled-wool hats, I mooched around looking at other things.
And there at Ursula’s Alcove I discovered my heart’s desire: a lilac ruana:
The only sticking point to my acquisition of this most lovely piece of wearable fiber art was my financial reality as an impecunious musician. Ursula, most kindly indeed, made it possible for me to lay away the ruana and pay for it in six monthly installments. A truly gracious and generous act on her part. ❤ Her website is at Ursula’s Alcove.
I left Ursula’s Alcove floating about six feet above the ground! 🙂
We did see another amazing specimen of wool fashioned into a wearable piece of art. In this case, not only did Rachel Walker, the proprietor of The Knotty Shepherdess , make the jacket, she also raises the sheep from which the wool comes!
A jacket like this one is going on my Wish List! 🙂
Finally, a buffalo hide journal with the niftiest clasp caught my fancy, after I was stone cold broke!
The Ashville, Ohio Viking Festival continues tomorrow, April 29th, 2018. It is more than worth a visit! ❤