Metro Vancouver’s Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a Northern European cultural event at Burnaby‘s Scandinavian Community Centre on June 21 to 23, 2019.
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 takes place on the Sunday).
Where, When and How Much
In 2019 the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival takes place in Burnaby on the Saturday and Sunday of June 22-23 at the Scandinavian Community Centre at 6540 Thomas Street, which is located one block west of Burnaby Lake just off Kensington Avenue. In past years, on the Friday night, there has been the Midsummer Night Bash Ember Skies event starting at 8 pm – so expect it to be June 21st.
The “Family Festival” runs from 10 am to 11 pm on the Saturday and from 10 am to 4 pm on the Sunday.
Admission to the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival each year is about $10 for the day but free for children ages 15 and under. 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 post “Family Festival” evening dance and bonfire is only on the Saturday evening and the Finnish wife carrying contest only on the Sunday.
Food at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival 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 a dynamic Japanese drumming group.
TIP: The wife carrying races are fun to watch but aren’t recommended for everyone. Carry your wife at your own risk (or your husband)!
2018 Festival Schedule
Below is the festival’s schedule of events for 2018 to help you know what to expect in 2019.
Saturday, June 23, 2018
- 10:00 am – Festival Gates Open
- 11:00 am – West Vancouver Concert Band
- 12:00 pm – Vasa Youth Folk Dancers
- 12:30 pm – Opening Ceremony
- 1:00 pm – Festival Parade and Midsummer Pole Raising
- 2:00 pm – Midsummer Choir
- 2:30 pm – Vasa Youth Folk Dancers
- 3.00 pm – Nordic Bleu & Midsummer Spelmanslag (singing of Nordic folk songs)
- 4:00 pm – Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver & Gammel Dansk (traditional Nordic folk dancing)
- 5:00 pm – 19twenty Church A Capella Singers
- 5:30 pm – Heather Soles & Friends (live music in the Beer Garden)
- 6:30 pm – The Catherine Toren Trio (live Jazz in the Beer Garden)
- 7:30 pm – Bonfire and traditional singalong in the Beer Garden
- 8:00 pm – The Beagles (live music in the Beer Garden)
Sunday, June 24, 2018
- 10:00 am – Midsummer Breakfast in Beer Garden until 11:30 am
- 11:00 am – Capilano Brass Ensemble
- 12:00 pm – Vancouver Puppet Theatre
- 12:45 pm – Nordic Bleu & Midsummer Spelmanslag (Nordic folk songs)
- 1:30 pm – Dorfmusik (performing European-style village band music)
- 2:30 pm – Wife-carrying Contest
- 3:00 pm – Midsummer Traditions (games and dancing)
- 4:00 pm – Midsummer Lottery Draw & Festival Closing
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.