VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ --- The Nordic House Coffee Shop and Bakery celebrated its second annual Winter Nights Festival on October 21 with vendors, food and live music.

“Back in the Pagan days, the community would come together because they did not live close to one another,” said Nordic House Owner, Gary Martinsen. “People would talk about themselves and others. Community is important and having an event like this shows that.”

Martisen, who is half-Swedish and half-Norwegian, incorporated Vikings and Pagans as the overall theme of Winter Nights Festival.

Norse Wind, a folk band from Berks County, Pa., was the live band during the Festival. Anna, Dan and Paul, members of Norse Wind say their sound is similar to, “ Old Pagan and Celtic music.”

During the band’s breaks, Eric Heppel, dressed as a Viking, read a rune poem, Norse fairy tales, and a poetic and prose edda.

Several vendors also attended the festival.

PartyLite Gifts, Inc. has donated $12 million over the past 13 years to the American Cancer Society.

“Seventy-five thousand is the goal for this month,” said Aimee Sisco, Independent Consultant and Unit Leader of the Organization, “Right now we are at $50,000.”

All proceeds from this vendor went to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Vernon resident and Special Education Teacher, Mary-Ellen Vichiconti, attended the event as a volunteer, and participated in the Viking Jewelry Center vendor.

Vichiconti, who has been a longtime friend of Martinsen’s wanted to do something for the children.

“It is always something nice for the kids to do,” said Vichiconti, who pointed to many different beads for the children to use to decorate their own Viking jewelry.

Another game for children and adults to participate in was “kubb.”

Martinsen describes kubb as a “wood game and good for any age and can be played any time of the year. Viking children would stack up the wood and knock over the kubbs.”

The main object of kubb is to knock over the king before the opponent does.

“It is very addicting,” said Martinsen.

There was also Scandinavian chess and checkers at the event.

Two other vendors also participated in the event to sell their wares.

Kevin Whitehead, owner of Outkast Sports located in Vernon, brought along a collection of items, which are sold in his store.

There were winter jackets, clothing, and accessories, from brands such as Burton and Volcolm.

“This is the the first time I have ever bought stuff outside my shop,” stated Whitehead. “It is a good way to get the name out there.”

Another vendor was Julie Giampolo, who was selling makeup to benefit BeutiControl.

Giampolo is also a part of the registered trademark; Elegance Luxury Spa and Boutique of Sussex County partners with BeutiCountrol Skin Care and Cosmetics for the Elegant Women of New Jersey, she said.

Martinsen served food such as Swedish meatballs, cinnamon bread and homemade pickles made with Scandinavian vinegar.

“The vinegar is not available in the United States, so I had to order it from Scandinavia,” said Martinsen. “It gives the pickles a nice kick.”

Admission for children five and younger was free, $2 for seniors and all others $3. One-third of the proceeds benefited the local fire department and veterans cemetery.