Shane Harms/ Ballard News-Tribune
Ballard High School marching band had an exciting showing at this year’s Syttende Mai parade.

Syttende Mai Parade attracts thousands to Ballard, inspires smalltown feel

This year thousands of spectators flocked to Ballard for the annual 17th of May Syttende Mai parade, expressing jubilation and pride for Norwegian heritage.

Among the 81 groups in the parade, people brandished bunaders and danced to Scandinavian songs of old. One group even made it out from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and others from all over the region.

Syttende Mai is Norway's Constitution Day, and the celebration in Ballard is the largest of its kind outside of Oslo. Ballard has strong linkage to Scandinavian heritage with seminal ties to the fishing (maritime) and logging industries.

Parade 5

The procession started at 6 p.m. at 24th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 62nd Street and moved along Northwest Market Street and Ballard Avenue through Old Ballard to eventually end at Northwest Lone Place. Spectators waving Norwegian flags sat along the streets and watched as Ballard High School and other high schools from the area, including Bellevue High School, showed off their marching bands.

Parade 1
Bellevue High School made the trip for a pretty good performance in Ballard.

Parade 3

The Ballard High School Viking Robotics team impressed spectators with their robot, which recently took first place at the FIRST Robotics world championship competition.

One onlooker reported feeling a long missed small-town feeling among the crowd.

“I don’t know who to share this with but your name came to mind. I attended the parade last night for probably the 30th time. It was just amazing. So many bands, so many wonderful Norwegian costumes and very little candy throwing. I had a wonderful time. It again felt like the little town it used to be,” said Peggy Storey.

Parade 6
Doug Dixon of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard wildly driving this Scandinavian street sweeper.

Compared to last year there was one more group in the parade, which is a slight dip from the year before last, which saw 100.

Parade 4

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.