The invasion has started! The Vikings have once again taken over York as part of the 33rd JORVIK Viking Festival (20 – 26 February), and this Saturday (25 February) is the biggest day with a host of major events – many of which are free – around the city streets.
“York reverts back to being the Viking city of Jorvik every February, but this year, with schools around the country spreading their holidays over two different weeks, we’ve made sure that this weekend offers the most action packed fun in the Festival,” comments Nicola Harkess, who has organised this year’s Festival on behalf of York Archaeological Trust. “We’re telling the story of the fall of Eric Bloodaxe as an introduction to the new JORVIK Viking Centre experience, which re-opens on 8 April- this Festival is a prequel to the displays and a homage to York’s last Viking king.”
Top five events this Saturday are:
- Coppergate Encampment – a chance to meet Vikings in their tented encampment in the heart of the Coppergate Centre – right on the site where some of the best preserved Viking remains in the world were uncovered by archaeologists 40 years ago. Runs 10.00am to 4.00pm. Free event.
- Annual Strongest Viking Competition: Recruitment for Battle – Eric Bloodaxe is recruiting the strongest warriors in the North Sea empire as he readies for battle, so watch as they compete in battles of skill and brute strength. This year’s event takes place on the open-air stage in Coppergate. Runs 10.00am to 11.00am. Free event.
- March to Coppergate – around 300 Viking warriors gather in Dean’s Park next to York Minster before parading through the city streets in the ultimate show of strength. Don’t expect horned helmets and gleaming chrome – these are battle-ready warriors wearing authentic replica clothing and armour. Starts at 12 noon at Dean’s Park, following a route down Petergate, Stonegate, Davygate, Parliament Street and into Coppergate before the troops muster at the Eye of York, next to Clifford’s Tower. Free event.
- Best Beard Competition – welcoming entries from the public, men, women and children are invited to show off their natural, synthetic or home-made beards on the Coppergate stage to win the prestigious Beast Beard trophy. 30pm in Coppergate. Free event.
- Bloodaxe’s Last Stand: Festival Finale – the most spectacular event of the day takes place in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower at the Eye of York (not Rawcliffe Country Park) to recreate the Battle of Stainmore in dramatic and fiery style. Featuring a cast of hundreds of Viking warriors, dazzling sound-effects and stunning pyrotechnics, this marks the final chapter for King Eric Bloodaxe – one of history’s most notorious rulers! Tickets must be purchased in advance as the event has sold out in recent years. The gates open at 6.00pm, with the event starting at 6.45pm. Tickets are £13.50 for adults, 10.00 for concessions or £40.50 for a family of four, £52.50 for a family of five. Visit jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk to prebook.
For further information on events taking place during the week, or on Sunday 26 February, please visit jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk
Notes to editors:
If you’d like to send a journalist or photographer along to the event, they will require a press pass. Please contact Samantha Orange or Jay Commins on 01904 500698 to apply. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
For further media information or photographs, please contact:
Pyper York Limited
Tel: 01904 500698