It hasn’t been the happiest of days in Ballard recently, and that’s all the more reason to attend Thursday evening’s Syttende Mai — 17th of May — celebrations and parade through Ballard. The parade is the largest of its kind outside Norway, and it draws thousands of festive people across the neighborhood and beyond.
Plus, pleasant weather is in the forecast.
Let’s start with the big event, which caps a day of activities celebrating Norway’s Constitution Day. The parade will feature marching bands, drill teams, classic cars, vikings, funky floats and Scandinavian flair. It begins at 6 p.m. at the corner of NW 62nd and 24th Ave. NW. It follows 24th down to Market, heads to Bergen Place Park and turns onto Ballard Ave.
Here’s the map:
For those neighborhood newbies out there, parking is always a struggle, especially if you’re not setting up early along the route, like many families do. So plan your approach carefully. And traffic will be a nightmare if you’re trying to navigate central Ballard — there’s no way you can cross the parade route during the event.
The celebrations get underway earlier in the day. The brand new Nordic Museum will have special events for the kids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At noon the museum will host a (sold out) luncheon with the parade’s grand marshal, Kåre Aas, Norwegian Ambassador to the US.
From noon to 5 p.m., the Sons of Norway Leif Erikson Hall is having an open house with live music. The Lodge’s Nordic Cafe will be selling its famous smørbrød, lefse and krumkake.
Over at Bergen Place, the entertainment begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 5:45 p.m. Here’s the performance schedule.
After the parade, the annual Syttende Gay event will kick into gear at 7 p.m at the Cedar Room. The special guest this year is Cash Court from Olympia, who was featured on the Norwegian Reality Show, Alt for Norg. There’s a suggested donation of $7.
One more thing: The folks behind the Skål Beer Hall, which is coming to Ballard Ave., will have a tent at the corner Ballard Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW during the parade. They’ll have a preview of their menu, including signature lamb and pork sausages.
We’ll be attending the parade and will post photos here on My Ballard. Have fun!