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Sheringham set to celebrate its Norse heritage with invasion of torch-carrying Vikings

PUBLISHED: 11:50 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:01 05 February 2018

Vicious vikings Vicky Holyfield and Erica Deojay get geared up for this year's Scira Festival. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Vicious vikings Vicky Holyfield and Erica Deojay get geared up for this year's Scira Festival. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

Sheringham will be pulling out all the stops to celebrate its Norse heritage next weekend, when the fourth annual Scira Viking Festival kicks off with exhibitions, workshops and pitched battles in the streets.

A previous year's  Viking Festival slave auction in the Lobster pub garden. Pictured is Jezebel Bollans and Chez Anderson. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE A previous year's Viking Festival slave auction in the Lobster pub garden. Pictured is Jezebel Bollans and Chez Anderson. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The event, which grew out of an idea dreamed up by well-known local artist and signwriter Colin Seal, is run by the town’s carnival committee and a team of volunteers.

Around 1,000 people attended the first festival, but numbers have since more than doubled, with people coming from as far afield as London, Leicester and Manchester.

Sheringham Viking Festival torchlit parade through the town. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Sheringham Viking Festival torchlit parade through the town. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

“I think people like it because it evokes the past,” Mr Seal, 74, said. “The idea really was to do something involving history in mid-winter and, with the rising interest in Vikings in film and TV, a festival seemed an ideal way of brightening up what is usually a bit of a depressing time of year.”

Sheringham Museum, where Mr Seal is a volunteer, is more involved with the festival this year, with a week-long series of family events kicking off on Saturday, February 10, with a shield-making workshop for youngsters.

Sheringham Viking Festival. Picture: Ian Burt Sheringham Viking Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

Festival day on February 17, promises to be the most spectacular yet, Mr Seal said, with Gorleston-based festival regulars Wuffa joined by fellow re-enactment group Dragon Shields, from Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, for combat displays in the town centre leading up to a mass battle on the beach.

“We have tried to get families more involved and we’ve got more re-enactors, so I think it’s going to be better than ever,” Mr Seal said.

Sheringham Viking Festival torchlit parade through the town. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Sheringham Viking Festival torchlit parade through the town. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

After a packed day of events, a torchlit parade will assemble on Station Road car park at 5pm, with a 16ft wooden longboat built by West Runton carpenter Brian Howe leading the way to the east beach for a boat-burning ceremony at 5.30pm.

Carnival chairman Stuart McClean said the festival promised to provide something “a bit different” for locals and visitors alike.

Scira Viking Festival ceremonial burning of a longboat on the beach. Photo by Mark Bullimore Scira Viking Festival ceremonial burning of a longboat on the beach. Photo by Mark Bullimore

“It is always quite a spectacle and the hard work that Colin and his band of volunteers do is amazing,” he added. “It’s an added attraction for the town at what is a pretty quiet time of year and anything that promotes Sheringham is something to embrace.”

For more information, www.sheringhamcarnival.com

The 16ft longboat West Runton carpenter Brian Howe has built for this year's Scira Viking Festival. Photo: SHERINGHAM CARNIVAL The 16ft longboat West Runton carpenter Brian Howe has built for this year's Scira Viking Festival. Photo: SHERINGHAM CARNIVAL

Festival Programme

Festival founder Colin Seal and carnival committee chairman Stuart McClean pose for a photo with a Viking-themed seaside sally Mr Seal has painted for ths year's event. Photo: KAREN BETHELL Festival founder Colin Seal and carnival committee chairman Stuart McClean pose for a photo with a Viking-themed seaside sally Mr Seal has painted for ths year's event. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham Museum events:

Two-year-old Sophie Wallace mixing colours for her Viking shield at one of the children's workshops run by festival volunteers. Picture: KAREN BETHELL. Two-year-old Sophie Wallace mixing colours for her Viking shield at one of the children's workshops run by festival volunteers. Picture: KAREN BETHELL.

Shield making, Saturday, February 10 from 10.30am-2pm.

Design and make a Viking badge, Sunday, February 11 from midday-3pm.

T-shirt design and printing, Monday, February 12 from 10.30am-2pm.

Write your name in runes, Tuesday, February 13 from 11am-3pm.

Norse and Celtic colouring, Wednesday, February 13 from 11am-3pm.

Sundial making and Viking navigation and a Musk ox wool workshop, Thursday, February 14 from 10am-3pm.

The main festival day on February 17 will include storytelling, a Viking boat building film presentation and battles outside Oddfellows Hall at 11am and on the beach at 2pm.

The torchlit parade will assemble at Station Road car park at 5pm, with the boat burning ceremony taking place on the east beach at 5.30pm.

To book a workshop place, email colin.c.seal@gmail.com For more information, visit the Sheringham Carnival Facebook page.

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