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Poulsbo celebrates Viking Fest

New bike race added to this year's festivities

The Norwegian spirit lives at the 47th annual Viking Fest. Photo credit: Steven Pavlov

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Jorgen Eliason, an immigrant from Norway, settled along the lush, green area of the Kitsap Peninsula that is now known as Poulsbo along with his family. Historians say their settlement along Liberty Bay (formerly Dog Fish Bay) opened the door to hundreds of Norwegian and Scandanavian immigrants in the late 1800s. The destination was popular because the surrounding fjords and snow-capped mountains reminded them of their homeland.

The Norwegian spirit is still alive and well in Poulsbo, and the community will celebrate its Norwegian heritage next weekend during the 47th annual Viking Fest. The three-day festival, which runs May 15 to 17, will be filled with all things fit to entertain both Scandinavian sea-roving pirates and families alike, including a lutefisk eating contest, paddle races and Nordic dancing demonstrations. The festival also comes with a carnival, music and arts and crafts booths.

New to this year's festival is the Viking Tour Bike Race, a group ride along the Kitsap Peninsula. There are three races of varying lengths designed for bike riders of all skill levels: the "Loki," a three-mile ride for families and novice riders through neighborhoods along Liberty Bay; the "Thor," a 35-mile metric half-century ride with a few rolling hills; and the "Odin", a 63-mile metric century course featuring a gain of 4,000 feet in elevation. The "Thor" race also features a time trial where the top male and female finishers have the chance to win $1,000.

You may need to have the stamina of a Viking to complete the longer races, Barry says, and he offers several training tips.

"To get your body conditioned, you should incorporate hills," he advised. "Hills are hard, but they're the best ways to build strength, bar none."

He also recommends that bike riders planning to participate in longer races begin riding two to three times per week about a month prior to the race.

There will be paramedics standing by in case of any medical emergencies as well as "bike shops" for riders who may experience equipment troubles along the way.

Event organizers are expecting up to 500 cyclists to participate in the Viking Tour Bike Race. Participants can register online at Fees for races range from $10-$65, and a $10 fee will be added to registrations processed after May 10. All proceeds from the Viking Tour Bike Race benefit the Rotary Club of Poulsbo-North Kitsap.

A complete schedule of events can be found at

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