Historic Syttende Mai parade this Sunday

Ballard’s Syttende Mai parade has always been about history. Syttende Mai – or the 17th of May – celebrates the day in 1814 when Norway’s constitution was signed in the town of Eidsvoll, Norway.

Ballard, with its strong Scandinavian heritage, holds one of the largest – if not THE largest – Syttende Mai parade outside of Norway. And this year’s celebration on Sunday is historic for a number of reasons: it’s the 120th anniversary of the Seattle Syttende Mai Committee; the 100th anniversary of the UW’s Department of Scandinavian Studies; and a restored replica of a Viking ship will sail down Market Street, at the head of the parade.

“Seattle’s May 17th Committee has been in existence as long as Washington has been a state,” spokeswoman Laila Sharpe explains.

She says Oslo, Norway, has the world’s biggest Syttende Mai parade, with Bergen, Norway, in second place. She believes that Ballard’s 100+ parade entries – with 2,000 people total marching and another 10,000 watching – makes it the third largest in the world….

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