The Vikings were a ferocious and much-feared warrior culture from what is now Scandinavia. Basing a float on the Vikings offers you many different potential design angles, from their rich tapestry of myths to their fearsome and innovative ships. Whether you are designing a Viking float for a history project, a Norwegian heritage parade or a Scandinavian holiday celebration, take your design inspiration from the aspect of Viking culture that you find most compelling.
Craft a parade float that resembles a Viking longship. Such ships are also called "dragon boats" because the prows were sometimes carved into intricate vertical spirals with dragon heads at the end. Cut the sides and prow of the ship from plywood or sturdy foam core boards and paint it brown or a fierce colour like red. Erect a sail. Place rows of benches in the middle of the float and fill it with people dressed as Viking warriors manning the oars. Have the float people sing a Viking war song or poem set to music.
Design a float depicting the Viking god Odin's ordeal at Yggdrasil, the "world-tree" of Norse legend. Such a float would be particularly appropriate for a parade that is focused on highly artistic floats or on world mythology, or for a parade whose organisers would rather not glorify the gory, warlike aspects of Viking culture. Make an enormous papier-mâché tree anchored in the centre of the float. Decorate the tree with Norse runes and mythological symbols like ravens. Paint the body of the float like a globe or medieval map of the world. Station people dressed as Odin and the ravens on the float.
Stage a Viking battle atop a float. Build a model town (represented by one or two foam "huts" being engulfed by painted flames) on one end of the float. Build a rough wooden fence around the sides of the float to further suggest a town -- and keep the performers from tumbling off the float by accident. Dress some of the performers as peasants or monks and dress others as Viking warriors, complete with "berserker" warriors dressed in bear skins.
Create a float depicting the different uses Vikings had for runes. For example, on one part of the float, station someone dressed as a Viking holy man casting a spell using runes. On another part of the float, build a tall "stone" (painted, carved foam) and show a pair of Viking warriors laughing and carving the rock with runes. (There is a famous Viking rune carving situated about 8 feet up a rock face that translates to "A tall Viking wrote this.")
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