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Leif's Life

Scandinavian Festival will include exhibits focusing on Viking culture.


In their heyday, the Vikings were no one's preferred house guests, as they terrorized coastal dwellers all over Europe for hundreds of years. But a kinder, gentler reincarnation of those Nordic nasties will be one of the featured attractions at the Scandinavian Festival slated this weekend at Cal Lutheran University.

The festival, now in its 27th year, figures to be a colorful weekend of flags, anthems, costumes, music and dance of the cultures of Scandinavia, as well as the Baltic states. Kingsmen Park will be transformed into a Scandinavian marketplace featuring exhibits and arts and crafts, and several diplomats from the Scandinavian countries will be on hand to discuss current concerns.

As to the past, the Midgardr Encampment will re-create the life and times of the Vikings with spinning, blacksmithing and leather-working demonstrations, including special performances by Norwegian actor-director Trond Woxen. And of course, there will be battle reenactments, instruction in the writing of runes and assorted games.

Troxen will perform a series of skits relating to Viking discoveries. In addition to being fearsome warriors, the Vikings were consummate sailors and explored North America long before Columbus was even born. Eric the Red discovered Greenland in 981, and his son, Leif Ericson, explored the Atlantic coast of North America 1,000 years ago, after being blown off course on a voyage from Norway to Greenland.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday March 31, 2000 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 5 Zones Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Smorgasbord--The Times on Thursday reported the wrong date for the smorgasbord at the Scandinavian Festival at Cal Lutheran University. The smorgasbord begins at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Guild of St. Olaf and Ole Olausson will re-create the splendor of the 16th century royal court of Sweden. The reenactors in their elaborate costumes will include bards, singers and poets, all helping to bring back the good old days of the Swedish Renaissance.

And what's a festival without food? This one will feature foods that many can scarcely pronounce, let alone spell. Expert cooks will be on hand to prepare such Scandinavian delights as ablekivers, krumkake, lefse, rosettes and polse, not to mention the more familiar Swedish meatballs, pancakes and pastries. A full smorgasbord will be served Sunday beginning at 3 p.m.

Another highlight of the event will be a 6 1/2-foot Swedish Dala horse, carved by Thousand Oaks resident Hans Torsten Olsson and painted by Irene Baldwin, both members of the local Swedish Vasa organization, Oak Leaf Lodge. These brightly colored hobbyhorses can be traced to 18th century Swedish lumberjacks who relaxed in the evenings by carving figures--often horses--out of leftover wood, which were then taken home as toys for their children.

One of Copenhagen's main tourist attractions is the Tivoli Gardens, which will be re-created featuring continuous entertainment from magicians and jugglers, as well as a carnival area for children.

There will also be an exhibition of modern Icelandic art at the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture, opening Saturday and lasting through April. An artist's reception will be held at 7 tonight in the gallery.

This event is sponsored by the university and the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historic Foundation. Prizes will be awarded throughout the weekend, with the grand prize a trip to Scandinavia, courtesy of Finnair.



The 27th annual Scandinavian Festival at Cal Lutheran University, 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. COST: $6 adults, $1 children. CALL: 493-3151.


Across the County: More than 800 gaily dressed reenactors will be at Lake Casitas near Ojai this weekend to create the 16th century English village of Wixonshire at the 10th annual Ojai Renaissance Faire.

The event will also include live outdoor performances on three stages throughout the weekend, among them Shakespeare performed by Bard in the Yard and the Xanadu Theatre Company. Scenes from "Romeo and Juliet" will include the balcony scene and the farewell love scene as well as the tragic climax. The casket scene from "Merchant of Venice" will be performed, as will scenes from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and several comedy scenes.

Queen Elizabeth I will dress to impress along with her royal court, numbering more than two score, all living historians and members of St. Elizabeth's Guilde. There will also be several battle reenactments and an archery tournament.

For the kids, there will be a large jungle gym to play on, a pier to fish from and ponies to ride. There will also be plenty of strolling entertainers such as dancers, jugglers, fire eaters and musicians. Most of the reenactors love to interact with kids.

The food court will expand considerably beyond food of the Middle Ages, with everything available from barbecue to Thai cuisine. There will also be a tavern for the parched, and visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic lunches. Pets are allowed,and camping is encouraged.

This event has pretty much everything but the Spanish Armada.



The 10th annual Ojai Renaissance Faire at Lake Casitas, 11311 Santa Ana Road, Oak View, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. COST: $10 adults, $5 children. CALL: 496-6036.

Bill Locey can be reached by e-mail at

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