Metro Vancouver’s Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a Northern European cultural event at Burnaby‘s Scandinavian Community Centre.
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 20-21. It was going 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.
Unfortunately, like many other events in 2020, the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers are hoping that the event can return on June 19th and 20th in 2021.
In years that the event does happen, the “Family Festival” usually 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 or so 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 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 2019 festival for the Main Stage and Field. Schedules in future years will likely be comparable.
Saturday, June 22, 2019
- 10:00 am – Festival Gates Open
- 11:00 am – Royal City Concert Band
- 12:30 pm – Flag and anthem ceremony
- 1:00 pm – Midsummer Traditions (games and dancing)
- 2:00 pm – Midsummer Choir
- 2:15 pm – Midsummer Spelmanslag (on the Bandstand)
- 3.00 pm – Nordic Singers
- 4:00 pm – Marc Gravel (on the Bandstand)
- 4:15 pm – Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver & Gammel Dansk
- 5:00 pm – Lisa Maxx
- 5:30 pm – The Catherine Toren Trio
- 6:30 pm – West Coast Charisma
- 7:30 pm – Bonfire and traditional singalong (in the Beer Garden)
- 8:00 pm – The Beagles (in the Beer Garden)
Sunday, June 23, 2019
- 10:00 am – Midsummer Breakfast in Beer Garden until 11:00 am
- 11:00 am – Capilano Brass Ensemble
- 11:45 am – Paavo Nurmi Awards (on the Bandstand)
- 12:00 pm – Vancouver Puppet Theatre
- 12:30 pm – Nordic singers
- 1:30 pm – Midsummer Spelmanslag (on the Bandstand)
- 1:45 pm – Dorfmusik
- 2:30 pm – Wife-carrying Contest
- 3:00 pm – Midsummer Traditions (games and dancing)
- 4:00 pm – Midsummer Lottery Draw
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.