The Viking lifestyle proves popular in Lismore
LEARNING the arts of the "olden times" was a childhood dream for Gold Coast Viking warrior Marko Toth, but he had to wait until the age of 21 to start his Viking journey.
"I was driving to visit my grandma up at Bribie Island when I saw there was a big Viking show on at Caboolture," Mr Toth explained.
"I saw that, and said 'sorry Grandma' and spent the rest of the day there," he laughed.
He came across a Gold Coast-based warrior group called Jorth Gar, which means "earth spear", and has been training in mediaeval weaponry with them ever since.
"This is my eighth year," he said.
"My favourite style is axes; I've got two large axes, two small axes, and a little hidden dagger. I'm a fully qualified user of all the weapons."
Becoming a fully-fledged member of a Viking "garrison" offers a fulfilling social life too, with members attending regular trainings, gatherings, and mock battles.
A full spectrum of Viking life was on display at the Viking Village in Lismore on Saturday, with the swordplay, archery and armour displays drawing big crowds alongside craft skills such as leather-making, jewellery-making, braiding, tool making and even basic domestic duties.
"Mother of cauldrons" Claire O'Meara's job was to cook for the ravenous clan, including famished re-enactors participating in the Lantern Parade's fiery finale at Oakes Oval.
One of the dishes she spent hours preparing was a mediaeval special of stuffed goose.
"The geese have been stuffed with offal cooked with onions, garlic, apple, breadcrumbs, currants, walnuts, herbs - anything to give it flavour," Ms O'Meara said.
"I've also made a salt dough which is almost 50-50 flour and salt mixed with water.
"I encase the whole bird in the dough and will then make a hole in the coals, place the bird in the coals and cover it up.
"Because of the high ratio of salt, when the heat comes into contact with it, the crust will become rock hard. It will encase the bird and it will cook in its own juices.
"I'll probably cook it for about three or four hours.
"It should be delicious."