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Crowds fill the city streets for March to Coppergate

Written by on February 24, 2020

Crowds fill the city streets for March to Coppergate, but finale event cancelled due to high winds at JORVIK Viking Festival

The stormiest February half term in over 30 years led to the first cancellation of JORVIK Viking Festival’s son-et-lumière performance at the Eye of York, but visitors to the city still joined the celebrations as Viking hordes filled the city.

With high winds blowing over safety barriers, organisers made the decision to cancel the evening performance at around 3.30pm, but not before thousands of residents and visitors lined the streets to watch a very blustery March to Coppergate, which saw over 200 costumed Vikings following the beat of Todmorden-based Drum Machine on a new route through the city centre. 

“The winds filling sails on Viking ships helped them voyage around the world, but sadly they have frustrated a number of our events during this year’s JORVIK Viking Festival,” comments event manager, Gareth Henry of York Archaeological Trust.  “We were able to relocate our Viking encampment and have-a-go activities, but unfortunately the high winds made it impossible to host our Battle Spectacular on Saturday evening.”

However, the annual Strongest Viking and Best Beard Competitions were able to take place, drawing crowds to St Sampson’s Square.  Special guest Tom Stoltman – a contender for the World’s Strongest Man – helped crown the winner of the Strongest Viking, whilst a host of natural and artificially-created facial hair graced the stage in the Best Beard competition.

The JORVIK Viking Festival Symposium, which takes place tomorrow (Sunday 23 February) will continue as planned, with tickets available on the door for £35 at the De Gray Lecture theatre at York St John University.