Ballard celebrates 17th of May with grand parade, festivities

The streets of Ballard are adorned with Norwegian flags and filled with the sounds of celebration Friday as the community comes together to mark Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day. 

Known for hosting the largest Syttende Mai parade outside of Norway, Ballard is the place to be to commemorate this significant cultural event.

Syttende Mai, which translates to the 17th of May, holds immense importance for Norwegians worldwide. In Ballard, this day is celebrated with unparalleled enthusiasm, drawing locals and visitors alike to participate in a host of events and activities.

At the heart of the festivities is the grand Syttende Mai parade, which kicks off at 6 p.m. The parade route winds through the streets of Ballard, starting at N.W. 62nd Street and 24th Ave. N.W., then proceeds south on 24th Ave. N.W. to N.W. Market Street. From there, the procession turns east to Bergen Place before culminating at Ballard Avenue and Lone. 

Spectators can expect a colorful display of floats, marching bands, and traditional Norwegian attire as the parade makes its way through the neighborhood.

This year's parade features distinguished guests of honor, including Torleiv Opleiv Opland, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C., serving as the Grand Marshal, and Jeanne Kohl-Welles, former fourth District King County Representative, honored as the Honorary Marshal.

Leading up to the parade, various events and activities are scheduled throughout the day, offering something for everyone to enjoy. From music performances at Bergen Place Park to family activities at the National Nordic Museum, there's no shortage of entertainment for festivalgoers.

Various events and activities are scheduled throughout the day, offering something for everyone to enjoy.  (17th of May Seattle)

Additionally, attendees have the opportunity to indulge in Norwegian cuisine and culture at the 17th of May Luncheon hosted at the National Nordic Museum's Osberg Great Hall. For those seeking a taste of traditional Norwegian fare, the Leif Erikson Lodge (Sons of Norway) Open House welcomes guests to enjoy Norwegian bites and drinks.

As the festivities unfold, the city of Ballard has taken measures to ensure smooth transportation for attendees. King County Metro has announced reroutes for Route 17 and Route 44 during the parade hours, providing alternative options for commuters.


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