Norsewood is to host its second Viking Festival over Waitangi weekend in celebration of the district's Scandinavian heritage and it looks set to be bigger and better than last year's inaugural event.
The festival is a unique opportunity to take a close look at the lives of Vikings, say organisers Eva Renbjore and Jamie Hughes.
Renbjore said there had been a very good response to this year's festival and already the number of stalls booked had reached capacity.
She said last year's festival attracted people from all parts of New Zealand and Norway and Sweden as well.
However, with Covid travel restrictions this year there would not be overseas visitors but, she said, there would be a big turnout of New Zealanders with Scandinavian heritage.
"This year I think every Viking in New Zealand will be coming along."
The festival, being held on Saturday and Sunday, February 6 and 7, will begin on both days with a Viking parade around Norsewood's Matthews Park at 10am.
From then on there will be a huge range of things to see and do.
The park will be transformed into an authentic living Viking village which will see between 30 and 40 tents erected in which people will live in over the two days of the festival and also display their various crafts and skills.
The festival will once again be packed with Viking-inspired activities, food, crafts and games for children.
Last year one of the most popular activities was the demonstration of Norsemen's traditional combat skills and techniques.
This year Viking warriors will not only battle each other they will also battle against medieval fighters.
Other popular activities were archery and axe throwing, with people of all ages trying their hand at these skills which were in the past vital ones for Vikings to have.
This year a crossbow demonstration has been added.
Pahiatua's Denyse Clifton and her warriors will give demonstrations on horseback of skills at arms, mounted archery and horse to horse and horse to foot combat. These skills were all part of the Vikings' military training.
The festival will see a return of Gabrielle Mathiesen and her Fjord horses, which will be transported from Christchurch.
These horses are amazing examples of traditional Viking horses renowned for their stamina and gentle nature.
They are the oldest breed of horse in the world, dating back 4000 years.
Among the traditional Viking crafts being showcased will be knife and axe making, furniture making, spinning, hand weaving, leatherwork, jewellery and njaalbinding, a type of knitting that uses one needle.
There will be a wider range of Scandinavian food offered this year including brown cheese, herrings, the dried Viking bread, vestlandslefe, and kransekage, a traditional Danish and Norwegian confection.
Renbjore said there would be more entertainment this year, including the Pixie Chicks from Waipukurau and Ceol Manawatū, who performed last year. There will also be storytelling and Morris dancing.
An innovation this year is a competition for the best dressed male and female and the best tent site. The prizes will be provided by Napier artist Korina John, a former Ormondville resident, who will also have her work on display.
Entry to the festival is $5, with children under sword height free.
Money raised will be used for further development of Matthews Park.