A little piece of trivia for you this week: When you see the annual Syttende Mai festivities throughout Ballard on May 17, remember that the celebrations have been taking place in our state since the year our state was admitted to the union in 1889.
The same year, workers completed the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Van Gogh painted his Starry Night. Locally in 1889, a fire near a woodworking shop at First and Madison quickly spread, becoming what we know as the Great Seattle Fire.
But back to Syttende Mai, it’s been 121 years since that first Norwegian Constitution Day festival in Seattle, and this year it’s just as strong as ever—even more so.
“It’s become this huge parade,” said Laila Sharpe of Seattle’s 17th of May Committee. “They say it’s the largest one outside of Norway.”
It’s also said to be one of the largest ethnic parades in the United States.