The Vikings are preparing to invade the western Iowa community of Elk Horn this weekend, but they won’t be pillaging or plundering. Instead, they’ll re-enact the Viking lifestyle.
Members of the historical education group will live in authentic encampments and partake in various workshops and activities. John Chadwell, spokesman for Skjaldborg Viking Living History in Omaha, says one highlight is a Viking long boat, called a Yrsa. The 45-foot boat has three oars per side and he says it is very authentic, with a few modern additions for safety reasons. He says it’s the sort of boat that Vikings would have used for raiding and trading. The vessel includes a sail and a dragonhead crown. It’s been on the water before, and Chadwell says they plan to float it on the water at Prairie Rose State Park tonight (Saturday).
In addition to taking in the sites, sounds and smells of the Danish community, Chadwell says members involved in the Viking meet will participate in various group activities. He says it’s a way to bring other Viking groups in the area together and “do living history.”
A workshop is being offered to re-enactors who want to participate in what’s called live steel combat, and visitors are welcome to pick up a sword too. Chadwell says his group has been practicing the art of fighting with ancient weapons for nearly 12 years. They use round-edged and round-tipped weapons to keep everyone safe, so it looks dangerous and entertaining but no one gets hurt.
Visitors can also watch craftsman ranging from bowyers to blacksmiths. On Sunday, a ground-breaking is planned for a Viking Long House. The project involves the construction of a 900-AD-period structure on the southeast side of the Danish Windmill property.
Related web sites:
Elk Horn Danish Windmill