Islendingadagurinn is many things to many people, but at the heart, it’s the celebration of Icelandic culture and heritage. This year, despite the COVID-19 situation affecting our ability to host in-person festival events, we will continue to celebrate and bring people together from across the street and around the world with the virtual festival – “Icelandic at Home / Heima er Best (Home is Best)”

“The Icelandic Festival was provided with the unique opportunity to reach and involve people around the world like we have never done before,” says Icelandic Festival President, Jenna Boholij. “We’ve received heartfelt messages from people across the continent who are thrilled with the chance to attend the festival virtually this year.”

The Icelandic Festival has created a series of online videos and virtual events that will connect people to the Icelandic community and culture in a meaningful way. Click here to learn how you can participate.

Arts and culture are important aspects of Icelandic heritage and both will continue to be showcased this year. This year’s virtual fashion show video will highlight traditional dress from Iceland. The virtual art show will feature photos and descriptions of the Icelandic Festival Purchase Collection. This includes winners of the annual art show, since its inception.

The virtual Icelandic Culture and Heritage Pavilion features videos on how to make delicious Icelandic delicacies; Rullupylsa, Vínarterta, and Pönnukökur. After you’ve had your fill of those treats, practice your Icelandic with the “Kaffi Tími - Conversations in Icelandic” video, and learn a new phrase or two. Aspiring writers can join Ben Sigurdson, literary editor and drinks writer, for a video interview with best-selling Icelandic crime writer, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.

Music lovers will be able to enjoy video performances from Canadian and Icelandic musicians throughout the weekend. The Music on the Rooftop video, shot in beautiful Johnson Hall in Gimli, features music from Todd Martin, Aaron Shorr, David Landreth and Cody Iwasuik. The Saturday Nite Music from Iceland video takes us on a musical tour around the island. The Alternative Folk Festival video, shot at the West End Cultural Centre, features performances by Manitoba musicians: D.Rangers, Leaf Rapids, Efflo and The Mariachi Ghost.

Thanks to support from our friends at Visit Reykjavik and Visit Westfjords, we will feature videos that give you an inside view of Iceland, in “Ask an Icelander: Westfjords,” and “Reykjavik for Insiders.”

Explore the rich history of Islendingadagurinn, and Icelandic immigrants in the Parade History video, and the Icelandic Winnipeg Tour video, with Stefan Jonasson.

We are proud to host a virtual Traditional Program, and bring video greetings from the Icelandic Festival President, Jenna Boholij, Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor, Janice Filmon, President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, The 2020 Fjallkona (Queen of the Festival), Anna Stevens, Premier of Manitoba, The Honourable Brian Pallister, Iceland’s Minister of Justice, Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, who will make an exciting announcement, Consul General of Iceland, Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson, and M.P for the Constituency of Selkirk Interlake Eastman, James Bezan.

Jóel Friðfinnsson, an active member of the Icelandic-Canadian community will make the Toast to Iceland. The program will feature musical performances by Icelandic mezzo-soprano Hanna Dóra Sturludóttir, accompanied by pianist, Snorri Sigfús Birgisson.

The Viking Park Connectivity project has begun, together with the RM of Gimli and Betel Home Foundation. This project will connect Viking Park in Gimli to 1st Avenue and Centre Street, creating a parklike feel. Donation and recognition opportunities will continue to be available at a variety of levels.

Speaking of Vikings, Islendingadagurinn wouldn’t be complete without them – look for special guest appearances throughout the virtual festival videos.

The 52nd annual 10 Mile, second annual 5 Kilometre, and 28th annual 1 Mile races are still taking place – virtually! Over 215 runners have registered so far to run and submit their times between July 19th and August 2nd, 2020, with ages ranging from 7 years old to 83 years old. The 5 Kilometre is sold out for the second year running, but spaces are still available in the 10 Mile and 1 Mile races.

In keeping with tradition we will continue to print our festival program, and offer festival souvenirs and merchandise through our online store and gift shop in Gimli.

Those looking to get into the festival spirit can take part in our Sandcastle photo contest, Family Scavenger Hunt and Lawn Parade contest.

We were able to host the virtual festival for all to enjoy with the support of our sponsors, including the Government of Canada, the Government of Iceland and the Embassy of Iceland, the Province of Manitoba, the RM of Gimli, Honest Agency, Icelandair, Iceland Naturally and other corporate and individual donors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the festival financially, and any donations are greatly appreciated. Click here to donate.

Click for a full schedule of virtual events.