‘Ring of Fire’ Event on Independence Day Will Feature Vikings, Sword Fighting

By Brandon Hansen / For the Nisqually Valley News
Posted 6/14/22

This Fourth of July will feature more than just fireworks in Yelm.

Organizers of the Norsewest Viking Festival, in conjunction with the American Legion Post 164 and American Legion Auxiliary, will …

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‘Ring of Fire’ Event on Independence Day Will Feature Vikings, Sword Fighting

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This Fourth of July will feature more than just fireworks in Yelm.

Organizers of the Norsewest Viking Festival, in conjunction with the American Legion Post 164 and American Legion Auxiliary, will host a “Ring of Fire” event at the legion grounds.

The event on Independence Day will include food, games, vendors, activities for kids, and of course, Vikings.

“In the Ring of Fire, we will have a burning ring where fighters will square off by hopping in. Because of the ring, fighters will not know who they are fighting until they jump in,” William D.J. Koutrouba, one of the event organizers, said. “If you get thrown or beaten out, the next guy comes running in.”

The fighters in the “Ring of Fire” have been training for years and understand how to use rattan swords.

“We want to get across that you do not do this at home,” Koutrouba said. “We train a lot and if you want to learn how to do this then come out to our meetings every Sunday.”

The fighters are part of a dedicated group of Viking enthusiasts who have a society in Southwestern Washington, which includes 11 to 15 fighters. There are others in the society who tan, skin, make jewelry, weave and recreate the ways of the Viking era.

“It’s kind of a prelude to the Norsewest Viking Festival for people to see what they are getting themselves into,” Koutrouba said. “We’re a fun, wild group of veterans that like to get together, raise money for good causes and have fun hitting each other.”



The money raised during the event will be donated to the American Legion and VFW.

“Again, it’s not something you want to try at home,” Koutrouba said. “We have special props that we use. Some are steel swords that we grind them down, put Kevlar on them soaked in lantern oil and then light them on fire.”

While the event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to midnight, the sword fighting will really start at dusk. Prior to the fights, there will be plenty of other things to keep people busy like food vendors, a raffle, music performers, and a variety of things to buy from vendors. The event will also feature a Viking village, a foam sword arena for kids and Aerial Acrobatics will perform.

“We’re doing this to raise some money to help the American Legion, and give the city of Yelm something fun and free for the community to enjoy,” Koutrouba said. “It lets kids create memories and go ‘hey remember when we did that?’”

The Norsewest Viking Festival had about 10,000 people attend last year and will move from Rainier to Yelm this year. It will be held at Cochrane Memorial Park. Koutrouba said the support of Yelm businesses has been great and they’re looking forward to the event with widespread community support later this summer.

The Ring of Fire will certainly be an explosive finale for the Fourth of July, and for guests, no helmet is required.

For more information, people can email norsewestvikingfest@gmail.com or call 253-223-5310.

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