The Michigan Nordic Fire Festival invites local residents to Free Family Friday this coming Friday evening, Feb. 22. Visitors can experience the opening ceremony, with the traditional burning of a replica Viking longship, the community bonfire, and outdoor entertainment, free of charge. Many of the festival’s vendors will also be open Friday night for browsing and buying.

“People travel from all over the upper Midwest to attend this festival, but many local residents have yet to check it out,” said Bryan Myrkle, one of the festival organizers. “By giving everyone a chance to enjoy it on Friday night for free, we hope more local people will learn about it and want to get involved.”

The weekend festival will be held at the Charlotte sledding hill area at 615 West Shepherd Street, beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m., with the ship burning planned for 7 p.m. In addition to the bonfire, outdoor entertainment for the evening will include the Shahira Dancers, Fiend Fyre Charmers, and other fire performers. Parking at the site is limited, and all festivalgoers are encouraged to park at Charlotte High School and use the free shuttle service to reach the festival.

A unique and special event taking place on Friday this year is a Viking wedding with traditional elements at approximately 6 p.m. Aaron Desentz and Samantha Riley, of Eaton Rapids, will exchange vows on the Hobbit Stage at the festival, and anyone interested is invited to witness the ceremony. They will also serve as the ceremonial fire lighters for this year’s bonfire. 

Friday evening also features the popular Viking Mead Hall, however that requires a separate admission charge and is for adults 21 and over. Regular admission to the festival on Saturday and Sunday is $8 for individuals, and $20 for a family pass.

Article submitted by the Michigan Nordic Fire Festival.