Syttende Mai celebration costing thousands more this year

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.


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seattlej
Guest
seattlej

Do they have anything set up where people can donate without buying a pin – or online?

Karen Anderson
Guest

To donate, you could contact one of the people on their website’s contact page. Amazing that they don’t have a link to PayPal or another donation site.

Justineuropa
Guest
Justineuropa

You’d think that more local businesses would be willing to donate since the likely benefit from the influx of people. I’m sure they can be convinced to do the right thing after the situation is explained to them in a nice way.

great idea
Member
great idea

why is that the right thing?

maybe their business doesn’t reap any benefits from this parade. maybe they are not scandanavian in any way and have their own cultural activities to participate in.

ballardguy
Guest
ballardguy

If people dont want to support our Scandinavian neighborhood they shouldnt move here or have a business here. We support them throughout the whole year. It is the right thing to do.

kim
Guest
kim

i’m far from scandinavian but enjoy the festivities anyway. what’s your point? aren’t we a diverse kinda neighborhood?

Jules
Member
Jules

Pretty much all the businesses in Ballard benefit from the influx of so many people- every restaurant and bar is packed to the rafters.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Yeah! They should all go back to Russia! Damn commies.

Ok, seriously now…this is a nice little parade and I’ve had fun attending it. I hope that the organizers can scrape together the cash needed to keep it running but it’s kind of ridiculous to turn an appreciation for the heritage of some of our citizens into a cry for xenophobia. The poster who says that “maybe” they don’t benefit is obviously rather dense, at least regarding the retail businesses, but let’s put down the pitchforks and torches and make this event more inclusive.
The simple fact that non Scandinavians didn’t even know it was happening should be a big wake up call to the organizers.

Gregr
Guest
Gregr

I have lived here for many years and when I can, I spend money helping others in need. I will not throw away my money on something that is of no interest to me and limited interest to many others. Support them if you like and get off the case of others who don’t share your special interest.

ballardguy
Guest
ballardguy

I am not on anyones case but if I moved to an area with a history of say Italians or Hispanic people I would certanly want do support their different cultural celebrations. I am just proud of being Norwegian, not much of it is left in our old Ballard.

KS
Member
KS

I hope all who enjoy the parade each year will contribute to the fund raising effort so that the parade and other festivities will continue. I have very much enjoyed this parade throughout the years (in fact I first arrived in Ballard 10 years ago on Syttende Mai) so I will be making a contribution.

What is not clear from the article is why the costs and administrative requirements have increased this year. Has there been new regulation by the city? If so what was the impetus for the regulation and what is its full scope? Does it apply only to parades or does it affect all street festivals and other public gatherings?