The weight of steel hammered against the Viking shield. Sweat flew from both men and slapped against the crowd that watched behind safety ropes. The steel battle emitted an energy reminiscent of the Vikings that the reenactment portrayed.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science featured the battle as part of an adult night out to explore the Vikings Beyond the Legend exhibition. On June 2, the Museum held the Viking Bash for Adults event. Tickets included a single drink and appetizers for patrons 21 and older.
The Fjellborg Viking Reenactor Society brought their Viking knowledge to inspire and inform. The society is part of a larger group, The Vikings UK, the oldest and largest Dark Age reenactment society in the world. Jessa Phillips, the coordinator for the adult programs at the museum said the Viking Bash for Adults did so well in March they decided to bring it back in June.
“When we have a great ticketed exhibition like this one we like to do a big event around it,” Phillips said, “and adults love to dress up in costume. We like to have a mix of having a temporary exhibit open, some hands on activities and entertainment.”
The Fjillborg Viking Reenactor Society set up a village for the evening, demonstrating some of the goods they make and staged combat with blunt steel axes and swords.
Eric Huizinga has been a member of the society for almost six years. He said he has always been interested in Viking history.
“Originally my family was from Norway. They conquered parts of Normandy and Northern France,” Huizinga said.
The group has close to 30 members and are from all over Colorado as well as Wyoming. They perform at different events all year long.
Huizinga pit his battle-axe against the sword of fellow member Sean McCoy. The two men worked up a sweat during the combat.
“We train for it twice a month,” Huizinga said. “We train not to hurt each other. There’s a lot of safety issues and we have our own insurance.”
At the end of the night both men treated themselves to a beer.
“We usually hold off to drink until after we’re done,” McCoy said. McCoy lifted his mug. “Safety first,” he said with a smile.
About 350 people attended the Viking Bash for Adults that evening.
“We found that adults love the opportunity to play here in the museum without kids,” Phillips said, “To really have a night out and just sort of let go and have fun.”
Phillips said the event attracts people of all ages. The first Bash, held in March, brought in over 400 Viking enthusiasts. Although the June event was the last Viking Bash for Adults, the Vikings Beyond Legend exhibit will be available for a little while longer.
“It’s a great exhibit with really interesting artifacts, great content and it came from Sweden. This is a really unique opportunity for folks in the area to come see the exhibit and get some of that cultural history,” Phillips said.