Go hiking with a Viking as they descend on Medard Park in Plant City. There are four dates in January and February to choose from and join in the fun.

Colorfully dressed robbers with parrots on their shoulders descend on Hillsborough County every year, but Gasparilla is not the only entertainment option featuring invaders from the sea.

Hillsborough County’s ‘Hiking with a Viking’ features park rangers and members from Wyrd Brothers Productions, a volunteer historical re-enactment group focusing on the Viking era.

The group trains at Medard Park on the weekends and wanted to become involved in the hiking spree. So the inaugural event held on December 1 was set up, and it reached capacity almost as soon as it was announced.

All of the attendees, including the kids, had a lot of fun. In fact, it was so popular that Wyrd Brothers Productions agreed to do it again, and the next four dates were set up: Saturday and Sunday, January 26 and 27, and February 9 and 10, all at Medard Park.

According to Hillsborough County Park Ranger Chris Kiddy, “It is a really cool event that combines education and entertainment. The Vikings really depended on nature.” Together, the rangers and costumed marauders lead hikers through Edward Medard Conservation Park’s Singing Bluffs Trail. On the journey, the Viking guides teach hikers about their lifestyle, skills and crafts, weapons and combat, and their appreciation and dependence on nature. The length of the hike is 1.5 miles. Each event begins at 9 a.m.

Hiking with a Viking is held in conjunction with Hillsborough County’s Hiking Spree, which encourages people to exercise, explore the outdoors, and experience nature through the County’s parks and preserves. This year’s trail list features 25 trails at 19 locations throughout the county. Complete at least eight before March 31, 2019 and earn a patch or medallion.

Registration is required for Hiking with a Viking, and entry is limited to those who have registered for the Hiking Spree. The cost is $5 (cash only). You pay on the day of the event at the park. There is also a $2 park entry fee per vehicle for up to eight people.

Medard Park is located at 6140 Turkey Creek Rd. in Plant City.

For information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/calendar/03-parksandrec/2019/celm/20190126-hiking-with-a-viking.

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