Arguably the village is the most important part of any re-enactment. Although the warriors may grab the attention with their noise and bluster, the village is where the public spend most of their time and where the greatest amount of interaction between the public and reenactors takes place.
The village can vary in size from a single tent to a small town, but it is here that the important chores that provide the basic necessities of everyday life take place. Grinding grain to make flour, turning that flour into bread, making and repairing clothes, cooking, leatherworking, metalsmithing, woodworking, sleeping, eating and drinking. All these activities are necessary parts of everyday life and can be undertaken in the village.
One thing you will notice with the Ormsheim village is a lack of barriers between ourselves and the public. We strongly believe that barriers discourage the public from approaching us to ask questions. Any member of our group can be approached and spoken to, and we try to have a good mix of activities for the public to have a go at, such as grinding flour using real quern stones, handling authentic beads, braiding, drop spinning and challenging us at authentic Viking games. Our members will readily pose for photographs with anyone who asks, and the warriors may even let you try out a sword or spear or feel just how heavy our mail and helmets are. Only the more dangerous crafts (such as those involving very high temperatures such as smithing) are roped off using minimal barriers.
We also field acting displays. In these we bring the important events surrounding the timeline of the display to life. For example at a display to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of a cathedral we may enact the enthronement of the new bishop. At an event in a monastery we may enact the aftermath of a viking raid. At an event to celebrate the anniversary of a famous battle we may enact some of the political machinations that lead to the battle being fought.
In addition to these longer scheduled acting sequences there are shorter spontaneous sequences taking place in the village all the time. These are short and often occur on the spur of the moment, and serve to give the public even more of the flavor of the time and place. They can range from a member of the clergy ticking off the parent of a female child for not ensuring the girl wears a head covering, through to haggling between merchants. All these small displays serve to bring the entire village to life.
And then, of course, there are the battles. It is our warriors clashing on the field that provide the most exciting elements of our events, the sights and sounds of the battle being as close as we can manage to those of a real dark age battle.
We also field KiddieVike. KiddieVike is the greatest test of a warrior’s bravery. Essentially it takes two forms. Society KiddieVike is a structured training session where our children are taught how to fight safely to our rules. Public KiddieVike is an opportunity for the children of the audience (and members) to gang up and pretend to be Vikings by hitting our warriors repeatedly with wooden sticks. It is amazing how many warriors are busy when its time for Public KiddieVike.