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The most stylish Viking festival in history

Written by on February 10, 2020

JORVIK Viking Festival, 15-23 February 2020, York, UK

It already holds the accolade as the largest family Viking Festival, regularly welcoming 45,000 visitors to the city, but this year, York’s Norse settlers are going one step further and aiming to be the most stylish Vikings in the world when the event returns from 15 – 23 February 2020.

“The Vikings cared about their appearance and personal hygiene – combs to keep their hair and beards in order were prized possessions carved out of bone and sometimes beautifully decorated, whilst beautiful beads and jewellery were a sign of wealth and status, and during the Festival, you’ll see many superb examples of adornments on the clothing of the re-enactors who come to take part,” comments event manager for JORVIK Viking Festival, Gareth Henry.

During this year’s nine day festival, visitors can join costumed interpreters in showing off their Viking style, with a number of events aimed at creating and showing off traditional Norse style:

  • Viking Costume Competition (Saturday 15 February, 3.00pm in St Sampson’s Square) – open to the public, a judging panel will consider those who believe they are York’s best dressed, with Viking and Viking-inspired fashion welcome to take to the main stage for the ultimate Project Norseway.  An expert panel of judges will share their views on the best male, female and children’s Viking attire in this free event.
  • Best Beard Competition (Saturday 22 February, 3.00pm in St Sampson’s Square) – a traditional favourite where the audience chooses the best facial hair on show.  Open to men, women, children and this year for the first time, bearded canines, expect some genuine chin growth, repurposed head tresses and even some man-made creations as competitors vie for the coveted trophies.
  • Trichinopoly – not some kind of Viking board game, but the art of wire weaving to create stunning jewellery and adornments by one of JORVIK Viking Centre’s team of historic educators.  The workshops run on Tuesday 18 February (2.00pm to 5.00pm) and Wednesday 19 February (10.00am to 1.00pm) priced at £30 per person, including all materials and refreshments, to take place in the York Medical Society on Stonegate.
  • An adult leather-working workshop will introduce participants to some of the skills required to make simply leather items inspired by real archaeological finds from Coppergate.  The session takes place on Tuesday 20 February from 10.00am to 12 noon, priced at £50 per person, at the York Medical Society on Stonegate.
  • Home & Away: Fashion and identity in the Viking Age presented by Dr Gareth Williams of the British Museum.  The talk will explore how fashion varied across the Viking world, including how it fused with other styles as the Vikings explored the globe.  The talk takes place on Tuesday 18 February in JORVIK Viking Centre from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.  Tickets are £25/person.

The use of black jet in Viking jewellery will also be explored by one of the world’s leading experts on the gem, Sarah Steele of Ebor Jetworks, during the Symposium which rounds off the Festival on Sunday 23 February – a series of talks and presentations about the latest Viking research around the world.

For more information on events during the 2020 JORVIK Viking Festival, and to book tickets, please visit www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk