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Viking Funeral

What is it really like to shoot the burning arrows that ignite the boat at a viking funeral?

By Tamara Howie

Pretty fun, according to Top End Bowhunters vice president Troy Wright.

It’s a special honour each year, with only six bowhunters entrusted to not only do the job safely, but to put on a good show.

“It’s good fun. We’ve got a few set people who shoot with traditional bows all the time, so they’ll be our key people, but we’ll also get some people in there who look like Vikings,” Wright laughs.

Wright says the amateur Vikings have a few tricks up their sleeve to keep the crowd entertained.

“We’re going to do some different coloured flames this year,” he says.

“We’re going to mix some salts in so you’ll get some red, green and blue flames flying across, and we’ll keep the spectacle going for a bit longer, too.”

In the lead up the expert bow-shooters make about 60 arrows ready to say a farewell to those lost at sea.

The festivities this year include all the usual – a performance by the Darwin Pipe Band, a feast of pig on the spit, and a best-dressed competition for Vikings. Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association general manager Wendy McCallum says the best-dressed winner needs more than a great costume.

“It’s all about the attitude. Costume goes a long way, but it’s how you wear it – you need lots of confidence and lots of character and a good, fun attitude," she says.

Sat 14 Jul | 7pm | Gates 6pm | Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association | $20 door | $15 online | Free, Memb | See the event listing

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