For more than 10 years, Andrew Nickel has put on armour and batted his friends to entertain others.
After not being able to put on a fight show for a year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nickel and the viking age re-enactment group he is a part of, the Sons of Fenrir from Calgary, came to Markerville to participate in an Icelandic National Day Celebration on Saturday.
“Our group is like a big family. We look out for each other and help each other when need be. We’re always crafting and we go on campouts together,” said Nickel, whose viking name is Odaudlegur.
“All of us are basically together for the love of the show, the love of the crafts and bringing a smile to people’s face.”
Icelandic National Day is June 17, but the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society held a celebration in Markerville exactly one month later, as most COVID restrictions had been lifted by that point.
Al Gamble, Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society president, said one of the biggest parts of Icelandic National Day is the crowning of the Fjallkona, which translates to “maid of the mountain.”
“The vikings were a warring nation and a fighting nation. The women were the ones who carried on the lineage. They were significant in carrying on the nation,” he said.
“Having these warriors here from Calgary is a benefit, but the big thing is crowning the Fjallkona and acknowledging her significance to the Icelandic people.”
D’Arcy Gamble was named the 2021 Alberta Fjallkona at the event.
Marlene Linneberg, a member of the society for more than 30 years, said the Fjallkona honour is shared between three clubs in Markerville, Edmonton and Calgary.
“By skipping a year (due to COVID), we weren’t able to have that change of honour. We’re happy to get that back on track this year,” she said.
Icelanders came to Markerville in 1888, Linneberg explained.
“They’re part of a very storied tapestry of Canadian culture. The people of Markerville have been very proactive in keeping the bricks and mortar alive – we have five historic sites here,” she said.
“We’re happy to be able to get together in person, enjoy the day and enjoy our heritage.”