Join the Norwegian community in celebrating May 17th and more fun around Seattle

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What happens from May 13 to 19?

Did you know that the biggest Norwegian Constitution party in the world outside of Norway is held in one of Seattle’s neighborhoods? On May 17, the Norwegian community invites everyone to the historically northern neighborhood of Ballard to celebrate Norway’s official national day, called May 17 (Syttende Mai) or Constitution Day (Grunnlovsdagen).

“May 17 is something we have celebrated in Seattle since 1889, so 133 years. [The celebration] mark when Norway got its own constitution,” said Anne-Lise Berger, president of May 17 Seattle.

“We were in union with Denmark and wanted to become independent. So we have our own constitution, but we don’t have our own freedom. We had to remain in union with Sweden for almost another 100 years. After being occupied or under so many other monarchs for 500 years, Norway finally became independent in 1905,” she said, “and now we are very nationalistic. We really like to celebrate.

Over the years, the May 17 celebration in Seattle has taken place at venues such as Christensen Hall, the Moore Theatre, the Civic Auditorium, the Opera House and the Norway Center. Madison Park, Salmon Bay Park, Volunteer Park and Leschi Park also hosted many celebrations.

Norwegian Americans travel from all over the region to join their community and celebrate with Norwegian ambassadors, mayors, and other notables. This year, Anniken R. Krutnes, Norway’s first female ambassador to the United States, is the special guest of the celebration.

The biggest party planned each year is the parade on May 17 (organized this year from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.). The parade includes Norwegian bands like Daughters of Norway, Sons of Norway and the Norwegian Commercial Club. There will also be high school bands, dance groups, churches and more. The parade historically draws thousands of people, so it’s important to claim your spectator spot early, Berger said.

Other celebrations this year include: youth activities like “Nordic Express” train rides and tours with Norwegian Fjord horses from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the National Nordic Museum (2655 NW Market St.), traditional live music and food from 2-5 p.m. at Bergen Place Park (22nd Ave. NW) and Scandinavian treats, coffee and live music from 1-5 p.m. at Leif Erikson Lodge (2245 NW 57th St.) .

“May 17 is the most important thing we do in our community. To me, that means a lot. My son, ever since he could walk, has always been to Ballard to watch or be part of the parade. It unites us,” she said.

The May 17 celebration will take place at several locations around Ballard. Find more information online: 17mai.org

What else is going on

Here are some other events happening May 13-19 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please email your event details to weekend@seattletimes.com.

SUPERFINE — May 12-15

Enjoy a contemporary art fair showcasing the work of LGBTQ+ artists, artists of color and female artists. To buy tickets in line; $25. 115 Bell Street, Seattle; superfine.world/seattle-art-fair

Seattle Beer Week — May 13-21

The 13th annual Seattle Beer Week features more than 30 events at nearly 20 locations. Enjoy special beer launches, tap reruns, pairings and the annual Beer Can Derby. Free. Location varies; seattlebeerweek.com

Discover Bellevue! — May 14

Discover Bellevue! invites attendees to Bellevue City Hall and city sites for over 20 tours, workshops and interactive activities throughout the day. Take a walking tour of Wilburton or the Spring District, visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden, explore distinctive neighborhoods and more. Register in line; $10/all sessions and coffee and pastries at City Hall; $23/addition of a lunch bag. Location varies; 425-452-6836; bellevuewa.gov/neighborhoodsconference

Mighty-O Donut Tour — May 14

The annual Mighty-O Donuts and Bike Benefits Pedal Tour around town fueled by donuts and coffee returns at 9:30 a.m. Participants can stop at any or all locations and receive their treats. Children are invited to take a mini donut tour around Lac Vert. To buy tickets in line; $25. 1555 Northwest Market Street, Seattle; mayyo.com

Kent Community Kids Bike Rodeo — May 14

The City of Kent and the Kent Bicycle Advisory Board present a non-competitive, interactive course designed for children to improve their skills in bicycle handling and road safety 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will learn stop signs, crossings for pedestrians and approaching bends, as well as around other cyclists and pedestrians. There will also be helmet fittings and a helmet giveaway. Register and download the waiver in line; free. 10828 SE 248th St., Kent; 253-856-5200; kentwa.gov

Seattle Health Fair — May 14

The Endocrine Society is partnering with the University of Washington, Sea Mar Community Health Centers and Lilly Diabetes to host a health fair focusing on diabetes, obesity and heart health. demos and more. Free. 9635 Des Moines Memorial Drive S., Seattle; endocrine.org/seattleec

Washington State Day Trips Top Destinations — May 14

King County Library System is hosting an online course to learn about the best outdoor destinations within hours of Seattle with local travel guide Scott Isom at 11 a.m. From Mount Rainier to the Olympic Peninsula and the islands of Puget Sound, Isom will share some of his favorite nearby adventures, including well-known destinations and hidden gems. Register in line; free. kcls.org

Spirit of Africa — May 14

The Seattle Center Festál continues with Spirit of Africa, a one-day virtual event streaming live from La Mer à Table in Dakar, Senegal, produced in partnership with Thione Diop and Inspired Child at 3 p.m. Streaming on Facebook and Youtube; free. seattlecenter.com/events/featured-events/festal/spirit-of-africa

UW Night Market — May 14

The University of Washington Taiwan Student Association hosts the 22nd annual UW Night Market, a festival of food, activity and entertainment that brings Taiwanese culture to life. From 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Free. 4063 Spokane Lane, Seattle; uwnightmarket.com

“Very Minutes” – May 15

Music of Remembrance returns to Benaroya Hall for its final live concert of the season with the world premiere of “Tres minutos,” the story of a family separated by the US-Mexico border at 5:30 p.m. Buy Tickets in line; $47. 200 University Street, Seattle; 206-365-7770; musicofremembrance.org

UNITY: A concert for Ukraine — May 16

The Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and Seattle Opera present a benefit concert for Ukrainian artists at 7:30 p.m. After. All proceeds will be donated to the Pegaz Cultural Association, an organization working with the Poznań Opera in Poland and other local organizations to support Ukrainian refugee artists in Poland. To buy tickets in line; give what you can with a minimum of $10. 321 Mercer Street, Seattle; 206-441-2424; pnb.org

Snake River to Salish Sea Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey — May 19

Join members of the Lummi Tribe, the House of Tears Carvers, and the inter-tribal nonprofit Se’Si’Le to witness the 18-day Snake River to Salish Sea Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey a.m. to 8 p.m. The event includes an intertribal roundtable, guest speakers and ceremonies rooted in ancestral knowledge. Register in line; free. 4249 Whitman Court NE, Seattle; spiritofthewaters.org

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