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Magnus Vikings Festival Coming To Killyleagh
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THE Magnus Barelegs Festival 2011 will be held between 14th to 18th September 2011 in Killyleagh.

This year’s festival features Education and Racing. On the 14-16th September, school parties are invited to the new site in Saul to experience life as it would have been in Viking times. Children will have the chance to meet a number of  interesting ‘characters’ who tell them, and more importantly show, them what life would have been like back in the Viking days long ago.

Philip Campbell, Magnus Viking Chairman, said, “The parties will be able to smell Viking food, play with Viking toys, touch the clothing people would have warn, see the weaponry and much more.

“There is even an opportunity for trainee warriors to take part in some battle practice. Each session will last approximately 1½ hours and schools can choose to attend either the morning or afternoon sessions.

Some people just stand out above the rest. A scene from last year's Viking festival in Killyleagh.

“Approximately 400 children attended the education sessions in 2010. If your school is interested in attending an education session e-mail [email protected] The International Viking Boat Races will take place in Killyleagh harbour on the 18th September.  As always before the races there is a town parade when Killyleagh greets the competitors from near and far.  The parade will leave the Old School site and proceed through Irish Street, Fredrick Street and High Street before finishing at Hans Sloane Square.

“Pride of Place in the parade will go to the Annagassan Viking Association who are attending the festival for the first time. The Annagassan Vikings Association have become close partners of the Magnus Viking Association and we are glad they are able to attend the festival.

“We recently had a great time at the festival and now we want to show our visitors from County Louth a true County Down welcome. The races start at 2pm at the harbour and defending champions Peel Young Vikings Again have returned to defend the trophy they won in 2010.  This year they are combining with some of the former Nationwide team from Swindon. ”

“Some of the boys are getting a bit old,” said Roy Baker, spokesperson for the Peel Young Vikings Again! “They’ll still be travelling because we enjoy the hospitality in Killyleagh.  We thought we’d aim for the mixed trophy this year and see if we can start another run of form!”. There are four rowing trophies up for competition this year: the Magnus Cup for the overall winners, the Legbiter  Cup for the best combined team, the Irish Wife (Ladies Cup) and the Gerry Douglas memorial trophy for the team that raises the most money for Charity.

“The teams will race in pairs against the clock and the four fastest teams will go into the semi-finals.  The finals will take place at approximately 4:30pm and the prize for the winning team will be presented by a local celebrity.  If you want to raise money for charity and enter a team for the 2011 event contact [email protected] In addition to the racing there are some really interesting things happening in Hans Sloane Square.

“A kids area has favourites such as a carousel, miniature train and donkey derby. In addition there is face painting, hair do’s for Children and temporary tattoos as well as having a colouring competition for all ages with great prizes.  Toys, Helium Balloons, Hook a Bag and Spin and Win will give children both young and old plenty to do.  Of course there’ll be candy floss!

The Vikings are coming! Rowers pictured during last year's Viking festival in Killyleagh.

“There is also a range of crafters at the event.  Paintings, wooden planters, jewellery, hand crafted walking sticks, hand painted pots and cat and dog gifts are just some of the crafters confirmed for this years event.  Contact [email protected] if you’d like to have a craft stall on 18th September.”

The Magnus Barelegs Festival is run entirely by volunteers.  If you’d like to make the 2011 festival the best ever go to the Facebook page “What’s on Killyleagh” or the website www.killyleagh.org

The Magnus Vikings Association is a group of Viking enthusiasts who aim to create awareness in their local area of its rich Viking heritage. They achieve this by playing an integral part in local festivals such as the annual Magnus Barelegs Festival, organising Viking longboat races for charity events, corporate teambuilding, providing living history displays and school visits.

The Killyleagh Social Partnership is a cross community group dedicated to organising events in the Killyleagh area to promote social cohesion and develop the local economy by bringing tourism and visitors into the town. This is the seventh year that they have organised Viking events in the town, and it is the 12th year of the Magnus Barelegs Viking Festival. The Magnus Vikings Association have been heavily involved in its organisation from its inception and the Killyleagh Social Partnership have been organising the Killyleagh boat races for the last four years. The two groups run the festival in partnership.