The Birkebeiner Races
Birkebeinerrittet is the world's largest mountain bike race measured by number of participants. This 58 mile long MTB race starts at Rena and finishes in Lillehammer. Birkebeinerrennet is a 33 mile classic-style cross-country ski race, with a climb of over 0.6 miles. From start to finish, all participants have to carry a backpack of at least 7.72 lbs. This is intended to symbolise the weight of Håkon Håkonsson, the infant heir to the throne, who was carried across the mountains by two Birkebeiners in 1205. Håkon Håkonsson became king, and ended the civil wars raging throughout the country at the time. For an overview of the Birken events, please see birkebeiner.no.
The Nordic Hunting and Fishing Festival
In 2014, the Hunting and Fishing Festival will be held for the 52nd time. With over 32 000 visitors annually, the event has become Norway's most important meeting point for outdoor, hunting and fishing enthusiasts. The festival is held at the Norwegian Forestry Museum, and offers the opportunity to try out new activities and enjoy interesting food. Visit the hunting dog exhibition, food court and stalls selling knifes and handicraft as well as hunting, fishing and forestry equipment.
The Engerdal Festival
Family event with fun fair, animals and entertainment for the very young. Adults will enjoy strolling around the stalls selling high-quality products, sampling the excellent food on offer and listening to performers from home and abroad. The Engerdal Festival has over 10 000 visitors annually - a substantial number of people for a municipality with only 1 400 inhabitants.
Femundløpet is a long-distance dog sled race held every year in February, and the event both starts and finishes in Røros. Mushers and their dog teams will race through woodland and across frozen lakes in the counties of Sør-Trøndelag and Hedmark. In Femundløpet, people and animals spend several days fighting against natural forces such as snow, freezing temperatures, storms and blizzards - almost without any sleep.
Elverum Music Festival
This inland cultural festival takes place in August, and is held at various concert venues in nine different municipalities. Over 10 days, visitors can enjoy concerts and performances featuring renowned Norwegian and international musicians. On the Elverum Music Festival programme are open-air concerts, festival excursions, festival pubs, concerts for the young and art exhibitions.
The Finnskog Festival
The Finnskog Festival has been held at Svullrya, Grue Finnskog, every year in July since it first started in 1970, and is a celebration of the unique culture of the forest Finns. The objective of the Finnskog Festival is to preserve the traditions that developed following the immigration from Finland in the 1600s.
Hamar in June
Spend the month of June in Hamar, and you are treated to a new festival every single weekend. The young will enjoy Stoppested Verden - the largest international children's festival in Norway. Hamar Beer Festival is the meeting point for beer enthusiasts, whereas Kokebokens Dag at Domkirkeodden celebrates cookery and food culture. Visit the Medieval Festival, and enjoy a journey back to the Middle Ages - to the lively medieval market at Hamar. The Kirsten Flagstad Festival is a tribute to the opera singer Kirsten Flagstad, and the very popular Hamar Music Festival has become inland Norway's largest of its kind.
The Prøysen Festival
Blåklokkevikua Prøysen Festival started as a marking of Alf Prøysen's birthday on 23 July. Over the years, it has become a week-long celebration at the Prøysen Museum, with music, theatre, singsongs and children's stories.
Rally Finnskog Norway is a winter rally at Finnskogen, and has been held annually since 1982. Winter roads in the area around Kongsvinger are used for the various stages of the rally, which is one of Norway's most traditional of its kind.
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