A popular Seattle tradition has returned! Tomorrow is the celebration of the 17th of May, also known as Syttende Mai (pronounced Soot-n-duh My) or Grunnlovsdagen (Constitution Day). In honor of Norway’s Constitution Day, Seattle’s Norwegian-American population and thousands of spectators gather annually in Ballard for a parade and festivities.
Seattle’s Norwegian population has celebrated this day here since 1889, with the first community parade taking place in 1974. Whether you have Norwegian heritage or simply an appreciation of the culture, you won’t want to miss out on this festive event. The main attraction will be a parade at 6pm that features marching bands, Norwegian-American lodges, drill teams, classic cars, and traditional Norwegian dress.
There will also be a gala luncheon at the Nordic Museum. Located in Ballard, this is the national museum for all things Nordic. It is worth checking out year-round. For the 17th of May, the museum will be hosting free children’s events starting at 10am. These include kiddy “Nordic Express” rides in the parking lot and youth activities in the craft room. There will be Fjord horses there as well!
If you’d like to browse the museum exhibits, the Nordic Museum will be open throughout the day with regular ticket prices.
Everyone is welcome to enjoy live Nordic music and food at Bergen Place Park (22nd Avenue NW) from 2pm-5pm. You can get a taste of traditional Pølse med lompea (essentially a Norwegian hot dog). Bring your appetite!
From 1pm to 5pm, you can visit the Leif Erikson Lodge (2245 NW 57th St) for Scandinavian treats and music.
Finally, don’t pass up a chance to visit Skål Beer Hall (5429 Ballard Ave NW). This Viking-inspired beer hall will have live music throughout the day as well as a special holiday menu of food and drinks. You can also visit their walk-up food stand in front of The Sunset Tavern on Ballard Ave starting at 4pm for pølse, sausages, pickled herring, and drinks to enjoy while watching the parade.
Find more information about the parade and festivities here.
When: Wednesday, May 17 from 10am to 9pm (the parade runs from 6pm to 8pm)
Where: 5505-5507 24th Ave NW (Ballard)