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Environmental and Heritage Center Highlights Early Explorers at Its Leif Erikson Day Festival

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue . . . For many, this poetic line gives the impression that Columbus was the first European to come into contact with the New World. However, archaeological and literary evidence indicates that the Vikings were on North American soil some 500 years before Columbus.

viking 1Join the Environmental and Heritage Center (EHC) as it celebrates those erstwhile explorers from the North Sea at its first Leif Erikson Day Festival on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This living history festival is a celebration of and investigation into the customs and legacy of the Vikings of Scandinavia as well as the Scottish Highlanders, who were among Georgias earliest settlers.

EHC Director of Programming Jason West said, “Visitors to this new and exciting festival will immerse themselves in cool competitions and creative crafts to gain a glimpse into the lives of these ancient and vibrant cultures. Activities are designed to engage the whole family.”

Participants will test their brawn and bravery in a mock Viking shield wall battle as well as demonstrate their skills in traditional and family friendly Highland events like the caber toss, sheaf toss and hammer throw. Guests will also enjoy Scandinavian games such as King’s Table and Kubb, as well as explore the footsteps of legendary Viking Leif Erickson with a life-sized board game. They will also learn to write in Old Norse runes and decorate their own rune stone.

Additional activities include a competition to build and race your own small Viking ship, a challenge to slay a dragon, the opportunity to build your own Scandinavian stave structure and much more.

The festival will take place at the EHC’s Festival Field, located next to its main campus in Buford, Georgia. Program fees for the event are $8 per person. EHC members and children age 2 and under are free. Guests are encouraged to pre-register online at but can also pay at the gate on the day of the event.