Metro Vancouver’s Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a Northern European cultural event at Burnaby‘s Scandinavian Community Centre.
The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Dates for the 2022 festival are June 25th and 26th.
Vancouver Scandinavian Festival
The festival includes a Viking Village with characters in period costume, a marketplace with vendors selling all kinds of Nordic foods and goods, and live entertainment including folk dancing.
The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is also the only place in the entire Lower Mainland where you can enter a wife carrying contest (which usually takes place on the Sunday).
Where, When and How Much
In 2020 the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival was supposed to take place in Burnaby on the Saturday and Sunday of June 20th-21st. Unfortunately, like many other events in 2020, the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 event was cancelled due to COVID-19 as well.
Thankfully, the event is set to return on June 25th and 26th in 2022. It’s to be held at the Scandinavian Community Centre at 6540 Thomas Street, which is located one block west of Burnaby Lake just off Kensington Avenue. The hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on the Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the Sunday.
Admission to the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival this year is about $15 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children ages 15 and under enter for free. Parking is free as available.
About the Scandinavian Festival
The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival has been celebrating and showcasing Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish cultures for over 20 years. It features market kiosks, craft vendors, Scandinavian dances and music, Northern European foods and a beer garden.
For children there is dancing around the May Pole, sword fighting and Viking raids to participate in, as well as storytelling and an “Amazing Nordic Race Passport” to get stamped at different countries.
Also at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival there is an “authentic” Viking Village where visitors can learn about Viking history and culture. In the village there are people wearing period costume, weaving and blacksmithing demonstrations, and various Viking games.
Most of the festival activities take place both days, although the bonfire and traditional singalong is only on the Saturday evening and the Finnish wife carrying contest only on the Sunday.
Food at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival typically includes barbecued salmon, Danish sandwiches, hot dogs, Swedish meatballs (of course) and pastries.
Live entertainment at the festival features all kinds of Scandinavian dancing and musical groups, as well as the occasional non-Scandinavian performance, like that of the Royal City Concert Band.
TIP: The wife carrying races are fun to watch but aren’t recommended for everyone. Carry your wife (or your husband) at your own risk!
Below is the schedule of events at the 2022 festival for the Main Stage and Field. Unfortunately, the Midsummer Lottery Draw and the Paavo Nurmi Run are both cancelled.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
- 10:00 am – Festival Gates Open
- 11:00 am – Dorfmusik
- 12:30 pm – Flag and anthem ceremony
- 1:00 pm – Midsummer Traditions (parade and dancing)
- 2:00 pm – Midsummer Choir
- 2:30 pm – Hobby Horse Steeplechase
- 3.00 pm – Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira
- 4:00 pm – Midsummer Spelmanslag & Dancers
- 5:00 pm – West Coast Charisma
- 6:00 pm – Catherine Toren & Friends
- 7:00 pm – Bonfire and singalong (in the Beer Garden)
- 8:00 pm – The Beagles (in the Beer Garden)
Sunday, June 26, 2022
- 10:00 am – Midsummer Pancake Breakfast
- 11:00 am – Capilano Brass Ensemble
- 12:00 pm – Fluterrific
- 1:00 pm – Louis Riel
- 2:00 pm – West Vancouver Concert Band
- 3:00 pm – Wife-carrying Contest
- 3:30 pm – Midsummer Traditions and Spelmanslag
See the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival website for further details.
For other kinds of events at other times of the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar.