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article number 143
article date 07-12-2012
copyright 2012 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Vikings Congregate at the Ephraim Wisconsin, Fyr Bal Festival to Evict the Winter Witch
by Stu Moment
© 2011, Pattie Erikson.

I finally figured out that the “Summer Solstice” is not the name of a convertible Pontiac sports car. It’s the longest day of the year.

A long, long time ago some Norwegians celebrated this event with a festival in which they lit fyrs to represent the burning of the Winter Witch.

Every June in Ephraim Wisconsin, pesky Vikings still gather for this event. A friend of mine, of Scandinavian decent told me that there is an alternate meaning for the festival. Vikings settling in England went home to Norway in the summer to help farm. They waited for a south summer wind. Bonfires were lit on the Norwegian shores as light houses. The trip took three days. I could not confirm his story but I know bull … ‘cause I full of it myself.

Let us enjoy the festival.

They come by foot.
They come by car. Older Vikings drive older cars.
They come by sea. I assume that this is an authentic Viking twin boom boat.
They even come by Pontiac Summer Solstice.

The festival is well organized. Vendors, food, music and dance adorn the day.

Can’t have a festival without food.
Vendor’s goods take many forms … from paintings …
… to pottery …
Mmmm … baked goods.
A variety of bands played music.
Children dance.
These Vikings are eating ice cream from Wilson’s Restaurant. Hmmm … gota’ try some.
It will be about a 10 minute wait in line, but it’s worth it.
The ice cream menu. I had two scoops in a waffle cone … Butter Pecan and Maple Nut.

The wood for bonfires is formed into cones wrapped with twine. There are many ways to construct the bonfires.

Pink flamingos prefer tree clippings.
Sailors prefer drift wood.

Sparks will fly high from the bonfires. In the past, trees have started on fire but the fire department is ready.

Ready to the north.
Ready to the south.
Vikings gather.
The scene is serene. Across Ephraim Harbor you see Peninsula State Park.
The fyrs are lit.
Need some long hot dog skewers for this fyr. © 2012, Pattie Erikson.
Across the harbor, more fyrs burn.
That’s not a witch. It’s an angel.
There’s a witch. © 2011, Pattie Erikson.
© 2012, Pattie Erikson.
After the bonfires byrn, some pretty good fireworks entertain the crowd.
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