Metro Vancouver’s Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a Northern European cultural event at Burnaby‘s Scandinavian Community Centre.
The festival celebrated its 26th year on June 24th and 25th in 2023. The beloved festival returns in 2024 and runs from June 22nd to 23rd.
Other events that usually take place on the same weekend include Lynn Valley Day in North Vancouver (which is a free community event with a parade and festival activities). There is also the Mission Block Party which is a food truck-themed event with live entertainment and free admission in the Fraser Valley. Also in the Fraser Valley that weekend is a Tina Turner Tribute Concert in Chilliwack.
For a list of other great events happening on the same weekend, or the weekend before, see our June Calendar of Events or article about Father’s Day Activities in Vancouver. To learn about the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, continue reading.
Vancouver Scandinavian Festival
The festival includes a Viking Village with characters in period costume and live entertainment including folk dancing. There is also a marketplace with vendors selling all kinds of Nordic foods and goods. Countries showcased at the event include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
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
The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival takes place at the Scandinavian Community Centre at 6540 Thomas Street which is about a block or so west of Burnaby Lake just off Kensington Avenue.
In 2023 the festival happened on the Saturday and Sunday of June 24th and 25th. In 2023 the festival ran from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm on the Saturday and from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on the Sunday.
Admission to the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival at the gate in 2023 was $15 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday (which was the same as it was in 2022). Children ages 15 and under are admitted for free. Parking is free when available. Ticket prices for the 2024 festival are to be confirmed close to the event date.
Like many other events in recent years, because of COVID-19, the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021. The event did happen, however, in 2022.
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, demonstrations around weaving and blacksmithing, and various Viking games.
Most of the festival activities take place both days, although the bonfire and traditional singalong are 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 in some years.
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 was the schedule of events at the 2023 festival for the Main Stage and Field. Unfortunately, the Midsummer Lottery Draw and the Paavo Nurmi Run were both cancelled in 2022. At the time of writing it was unclear whether these events were to feature at the festival in 2023. The festival schedule in 2024 will likely be similar, although exact details are to be confirmed.
Saturday, June 24th, 2023
- 10:00 am – Festival Gates Open
- 11:00 am to 12:00 pm – Dorfmusik
- 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm – Flag and Anthem Ceremony
- 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Midsummer Traditions (parade and dancing)
- 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm – TBD
- 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm – Hobby Horse Steeplechase
- 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm – West My Friend
- 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm – Home is Where the Heart is
- 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm – West Coast Charisma
- 6:00 pm – Closing of Country Tents
- 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm – The Rheinlanders
- 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm – Bonfire (in the Beer Garden)
- 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm – The Beagles (in the Beer Garden)
Sunday, June 25th, 2023
- 10:00 am – Festival Gates Open and Midsummer Pancake Breakfast
- 11:00 am to 12:00 pm – Deep Cove Band
- 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm – Fluterrific
- 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Louis Riel
- 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm – West Vancouver Concert Band
- 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm – Wife-carrying Contest
- 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm – Midsummer Traditions and Spelmanslag
- 4:00 pm – Festival Closes
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.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s June and July Calendars
- History and Culture in Vancouver
- The City of Burnaby
- Vancouver Shows and Events