Grimsby Viking festival axed after funding ends

A popular festival celebrating Grimsby's Viking heritage will not return in 2024, organisers have said.

Grim Falfest, which attracted more than 20,000 visitors in its first year in 2022, was supported by £250,000 of National Lottery Heritage Funding.

Last year, the three-day festival, featuring battle re-enactments and a parade, won a prestigious national outdoor event award.

Organisers said they hoped the festival would return in 2025.

The festival was created by the Visitor Economy Services and Retail group (VESR CIC), in partnership with Heritage Lincolnshire.

It aimed to celebrate the town's proud Viking heritage, including Prince Havelock, the son of a Danish King, who was rescued off the Lincolnshire coast by a Danish settler and fisherman named Grim, from where the town takes its name.

Festival director Julia Thompson said: "The current project has sadly come to an end, but Grim Falfest has been so popular we would be delighted to see it return in the future and discussions are ongoing.

"As a Grimbarian, it's been great to see our unique Grimsby story brought to life."

She said the event also provided a boost for the local economy and community, prompting the launch of a new Viking re-enactment group.

An independent survey carried out at last year's event suggested visitors wanted to see the festival continue on an annual basis, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

One comment said: "It is the best thing that has happened in the town in years and it made me proud to live here."

In October last year, the National Lottery Heritage Fund announced North East Lincolnshire would receive a share of £200m for heritage-based projects over 10 years, as one of 19 designated Heritage Places in the UK.

Consultations are currently ongoing with the council about the administration of this new fund.

A spokesperson for the authority said: "We will continue to work with the event organiser and external funders to explore options regarding future opportunities."

An exhibition celebrating the story of Grim and Havelock is currently running at the town's fishing heritage centre.

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