Metro Vancouver’s Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a Northern European cultural event at Burnaby‘s Scandinavian Community Centre on June 20 and 21, 2020.
As of March 20th, 2020, the Scandinavian Cultural Centre is temporarily closed to the public and the fate of Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is under review. The Scandinavian Centre Board plans to make a decision about whether or not to proceed with this year’s festival by mid-April. Further details will be coming soon.
For more information see the Scandinavian Festival’s website.
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 2020 the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival takes place in Burnaby on the Saturday and Sunday of June 20-21 at the Scandinavian Community Centre at 6540 Thomas Street, which is located one block west of Burnaby Lake just off Kensington Avenue.
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 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 at your own risk (or your husband)!
Below is the festival’s schedule of events for 2019 for the Main Stage and Field. 2020 details will be similar.
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.