The annual Syttende Mai celebration is about one month away and organizers say they’re being hit hard financially.
The cost for the day-long celebration is going up $5,000 this year. “We need the community to rally around and help us,” Laila Sharpe says at a small table in the Café Stua at the Leif Erikson Lodge.
Some of the new costs include $250 for a permit for Bergen Place Park and $1,700 for barricades. According to Sharpe, insurance costs have also gone up. Other costs involved with the celebration include the sound system, printing, trophies, guest hospitality and more.
The celebration could not go on without support from corporate sponsors and community members, says Sharpe. To help raise money, organizers also sell souvenir pins for $5. Each year they feature a different pin, which can be purchased at Scandinavian Specialties (6719 15th Ave NW) and the Leif Erikson Lodge (2245 NW 57th St).
Also new this year, organizers are required by the city to blanket Market Street, Ballard Ave and 24th Ave NW with flyers letting businesses know about the 17th of May celebration. They plan to go door-to-door on Saturday.
The Syttende Mai committee is quite possibly the longest-running committee in the city – this is its 122 year. “We’re really just a non-profit, we’re just a bunch of volunteers,” Sharpe says. The community celebration brings thousands of people to downtown Ballard and lets people “be a Norwegian for the day,” Sharps says.