When I was a little girl, I pretended to be on some exciting adventure. I pretended to be a warrior-princess or an Indiana Jones figure. I played with swords, bows and arrows, and I rode horses in the wilderness without the supervision of adults. My childhood interests followed me into adulthood. I became very interested in world history and family history.
About five years ago, my husband and I grew curious about the Viking period. We began researching the Norse people and discovered how intense and exciting their lives were. We thought it would be fun and educational to start a local Viking reenactment group. These groups are wonderful because they allow individuals to experience historic authenticity in the present day and gain a respect for the past.
We created the Vikings of Utah reenactment group, and it has been steadily growing with members who love and appreciate Norse history. Several of them are talented artisans and craftsmen, including the amazing Ragnar Forge blacksmith, Aaron Richardson, from Eden, Utah.
The Vikings of Utah have been asked to participate in events, including visits to Utah elementary schools, to teach about Viking history. The kids go absolutely wild and love looking at the glass bead jewelry, brooches, clothing, shields, weapons, tools and chain mail armor.
Members of the group also gather together for December Yule events including camp-outs and crafting activities such as leather shoe-making and shield crafting.
The Vikings of Utah participate in Richard Thurman’s Utah Renaissance Faire, held every August. This is currently our largest event and this was the second year we appeared. The group has provided an authentic Viking camp which demonstrates Viking games, Viking blacksmithing, glass bead making, silversmith jewelry making, weaving, crafting, hair braiding, education on Viking boat building, and much more. The Viking camp is composed of authentic wooden A-frame tents and awnings which were built by members of the group.
The Vikings of Utah group is nothing but fun. It is a source of learning and discovery. No longer are there prayers offered in churches that beseech, “From the fury of the Norsemen, God deliver us.” Instead, we offer, “Skal!”
If you would like to learn more about the group, you can find us on Facebook and Instagram at Vikings of Utah.