Hordes of Vikings take over the city every February as part of the Jorvik Festival, celebrating Viking life in the area. Wherever you walk, you can find yourself suddenly encountering a Viking lady, merchant, or even a Viking child. Stories of merchants like Thorbjarndottir who was the most widely travelled European of the early eleventh century, having been born in Iceland, married in Greenland, gave birth in North America and visited Norway and Rome are woven into the various events. There are Viking banquets, a Viking encampment in the heart of the city and numerous sports and activities. Just how long can a Viking warrior hold his axe at arms length? Who is the best wrestler? Anyone can join in the Best Beard competition as long as you have a beard. Women often take part wearing knitted beards, or children with handmade versions. Dogs take part too – Marcel le corgi has become a Viking celebrity complete with his own beard! The festival ends with a lively parade of over 200 Vikings from York Minister to the Eye of York where skirmishes develop into a major battle. It’s dramatic, atmospheric and you can expect lots of pyrotechnics as well.