Yes, it’s that time of year again in Ballard, Syttende Mai. You don’t have to be Norwegian to enjoy this event, all you need is to like parades, costumes and an international spirit. While many of the Norwegian businesses in Ballard have closed over the last decade, this tradition remains strong.
I happened to stop in the ‘Uff Da’ store in Stanwood on Sunday and the owner I had a conversation about the weakening of the Norwegian character in Ballard, with the Sytttende Mai parade being a last stronghold. If you live in Seattle and have never participated in this event, the 17th of May celebrates the day the Norwegian Constitution was signed. This event has been celebrated in the Seattle area for over 100 years and is the largest celebration for this event outside of Norway.
The Ballard event includes a parade where participants where colorful bunader, part of the Norwegian folk costumes representing different regions of the country. The Grand Marshall of this year’s event is the Norwegian ambassador to the United States. In addition to the parade are children’s games, performances by the Hellvik Mannskor (A Norwegian male choir) a lunch and a dance.
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