Despite falling on a Tuesday evening this year, thousands of Seattleites packed Ballard on a sunny May 17th to enjoy the annual Syttende Mai Parade.
Organizers say it’s the largest parade so far — 3,000 people walked, drove and rode the route as part of 94 entries. Running a full two hours, organizers believe it may challenge Seattle’s annual Torchlight parade as one of the city’s largest.
The Grand Marshal, Knut Brakstad, Private Secretary to His Majesty King Harald of Norway
The 17th of May has been celebrated in Seattle since 1889 and for many, this is a tradition they don’t miss. “It’s something we do every year because it’s part of our heritage to be involved in the 17th of May.” Ballardite Liv Faris says. “It’s the best thing we can get outside of Norway.”
“I remember coming to this parade when I was a kid” says Kelly Lambson. “It’s great to see everybody coming out and celebrating.”
The crowd wasn’t quite as large as the years when May 17th falls on the weekend, but it was impressive, nonetheless. A small handful of people even camped out along 24th Ave. as early as noon.
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s festive, everyone enjoying themselves. It’s a sense of community.” Jay Kantor says.
The Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team kicked off the parade, dazzling the crowd with their precision moves while clearing the roadway.
The first band out of the gate was none other than the Ballard High School marching band.
The kids are always a crowd favorite.
“She was excited to wear her bunad,” Faris says of two-year-old Landry (above). “This was my bunad when I was two so it’s just really cool to see her in it.”
Erin Snow sent us this photo of two little girls dolled up in their bunads.
Another crowd favorite was the Ballard High School Robotics Team with their robot, who was stopping every so often to show the crowd its abilities.
Not to be outdone be the sea of Norwegian red, the Swedish Pancake Drill Team made its annual performance, complete with a man dressed as a pancake who high-fived the kids along the route.
Of course the judges had the best seat in the house. Each group stopped to perform for them. Overheard on the opposite side of the street, “We sure picked the wrong side to sit on.”
It seemed that not a kid at the parade was sitting down. They were all in position for one thing – candy – and there was lots of it.
Even the dogs were feeling a bit Norwegian for the day.
And of course it wouldn’t be a Ballard parade without the unicycles. Here are a few Whittier Wildcats on their decorated cycles.