This past weekend, the good people of Ålesund, Norway celebrated their annual Midsummer festival, Slinningsbålet. Like most celebrations, this one features eating, drinking, and other assorted revels.
Unlike most ones, though, it also features a multi-story bonfire the size of the Statue of Liberty, which towers over the landscape for hours before collapsing into a waterfall of flames. So that’s cool, too.
Ålesund volunteers hand-build the bonfire out of pallets, hosting them up with ropes and stacking them into an elegant, building-shaped structure. When the time comes, they climb up their creation, light the wick at the top, and then climb back down again before the blaze begins.
According to The Local, this year’s bonfire was the biggest ever, measuring about 155.5 feet tall. Video footage shows the flames slowly engulfing their scaffolding, as several fire boats tame them with constant streams (if you didn’t know it was just Norwegians being Norwegians, you might think a capital was getting sacked). Eventually, the whole caboodle disintegrates into the surrounding ocean. “We were sitting on the beach over 100 meters away, but the heat was still intense,” wrote festival attendee and Instagram user thegypsyviking. “I hope the gods are pleased.”
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