Velkomin to the 128th Islendingadagurinn

Discover your Land at the 128th Islendingadagurinn

Recently named by Expedia as the “Best Small Town in Manitoba,” the town of Gimli is getting ready to host the 128th Icelandic Festival of Manitoba – Islendingadagurinn on the August long weekend, August 4th to 7th, 2017.

This year’s theme, “Discover your Land,” honours our nation’s year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation and is a call for all of us to discover our roots. Icelandic settlers are spread out across our great land – from the original Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows to the western coasts of Vancouver Island, and Icelandic history has been interwoven with Canada’s since Sigtryggur Jonasson arrived in Quebec City in 1872 in search of new lands for his countrymen. Icelanders can proudly lay claim to the likes of astronauts, world-class scientists, acclaimed athletes, renowned musicians and celebrated authors, poets and artists, such as Björk, Laura Salverson, Bjarni Tryggvason, Halldór Laxness and Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen, to name a few.

And what better way to celebrate Canada’s birthday than with the opening of the Islendingadagurinn 125th legacy project, Viking Park. Campaign co-chairs, Grant Stefanson and Kathi Thorarinson-Neal, together with the RM of Gimli and Betel Home Foundation, are proud to unveil the beautiful new space created around the Viking statue. The park, filled with elves and trolls and other nods to Norse mythology, in unlike any attraction outside of Iceland, and promises to put Gimli on the map as a destination location for visitors travelling to Manitoba. The grand opening of the park will take place Saturday, August 5th from noon to 2:00pm.

Speaking of Vikings, Islendingadagurinn wouldn’t be complete without the Bell-MTS Viking Village. Almost 100 re-enactors live like authentic 800 A.D. period Vikings on the Harbour Park Hill during the festival and will ‘battle’ each day at 3:00pm. The Village is open from 11:00am to 6:00pm for visitors interested in seeing Norse jewelers, wood carvers and other demonstrations of authentic Viking life.

Enjoy live music all weekend long starting Friday at the Harbour Stage, as Sigur Rök kicks off festival with Stefanie Blondal Johnson, The Hard Maybes, Young Pixels and Mulligrub. On Saturday children’s entertainers The Happy Campers are performing and BIG GAMES returns to the harbor area. Saturday Nite at the Pier features Eon Longson, Bright Righteous, Slow Spirit, Middle Coast and VIKINGS, followed by a stunning display of fireworks over the harbour. On Sunday the Alternative Folk Festival features Mitchell Schimnowski, Nation of Two, Leaf Rapids, Lindy Vopnfjörð, Micah Erenberg Band and Lanikai.

Music enthusiasts will enjoy Music on the Rooftop on Saturday night, featuring Jóhann Kristinsson (from Iceland), Esprit de Choeur (choir) and Dallas Nedotiafko (jazz group).

Enjoy pancake breakfast Saturday to Monday at New Horizons Center and authentic Icelandic food at Amma’s Kitchen at the Cultural and Heritage Pavilion at Gimli Park. The Wondershows Midway and Rides open in Gimli Park on Friday night and run until Monday. Saturday features Beach Volleyball, Islendingadaunk, sandcastle contests on the beach and the chance to ‘Get Dinged’ by dressing up in a traditional Viking costume, eating a piece of Hardfiskur (dried fish), drinking a shot of Brennivín, chanting "Islendingadagurinn", and showing us your best Viking roar!

On Sunday visitors can continue to enjoy road races, craft vendors, the Culture and Heritage Pavilion, Music and Poetry in the Park, the Fine Art Show and the Fris-Nok tournament. The Monday Parade begins at 10:00 AM at the Gimli Recreation Centre and travels through town, family sports begins at 12:30pm and the Traditional Program gets underway at 2:00pm in Gimli Park.

The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is pleased to extend a warm welcome to Anne-Tamara Lorre, Ambassador of Canada to Iceland and our friend, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iceland, who will be presenting the Toast to Canada during the traditional program at Gimli Park starting Monday at 2:00 PM.  We will also honor this year’s Fjallkona (Queen of the Festival), Ms. Tami Jakobson Schirlie.

The festival offers affordable events thanks to the support of all its sponsors, including the Government of Canada, the Government of Iceland, the Province of Manitoba, the R.M. of Gimli, Bell MTS, Honest Agency and corporate and individual donors. For a full program of events please visit, or download the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba’s free app for Android and Apple devices.

Contact: Kristine Sigurdson, (204) 642-7417 or

Contact: Kathi Thorarinson Neal,

Contact: Jenna Boholij,