Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School, invites everyone to celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, on Wednesday, May 17, with activities on campus in Decorah, a folk music concert online, and traditional food at Decorah-area organizations. Admission is free all day, and the museum and store will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Syttende Mai is the day Norway ratified its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll, and Norwegians celebrate with excited crowds – especially children – marching through the streets, waving flags and singing songs.
In the museum’s Main Building, there will be hands-on craft making in the lobby at 11:30 a.m. and storytelling inspired by Norwegian themes on the third floor at 12:30 p.m.
Outside, the Children’s Parade throughout Vesterheim Heritage Park will begin at 1 p.m., free ice cream treats will be served at 1:15 p.m., and Decorah’s Nordic Dancers will perform after a brief welcome from Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson at 1:30 p.m. Norwegian flags will be given out at the parade, and everyone is invited to march along.
There will be guided tours of the historic buildings in Heritage Park at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Online at noon, Nordic folk musician Vidar Skrede will give a free live stream concert with traditional fiddle music. Join on Vesterheim’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_n-o4subQw. Vidar Skrede plays fiddle, Hardanger fiddle and guitar. Born in Norway, he currently lives in Milwaukee, Wis. He has a background in the traditional music of Rogaland, his home area in the southwest of Norway, and has a master’s degree in Nordic folk music at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden.
In case of inclement weather, the parade, ice cream and Nordic Dancers will be canceled. All other activities will continue as planned.
Special Norwegian meals
Sons of Norway Valdres Lodge #503 in Decorah will have a Syttende Mai dinner and program at 6 p.m. May 16 at Good Shepherd Church in Decorah. Guests are welcome. Reservations for the traditional Norwegian meal are required and can be made by contacting lodge member Carol Maki at 563-277-1197 or email@example.com by May 8.
The Landing Market at 211 College Dr, Decorah, Iowa, will serve Norwegian waffles with toppings from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. From 5-7 p.m., a Passport Dinner to Norway with a hearty smørrebrød (open-face sandwiches) plate with bløtkake (cream cake) will be served, and Eden Ehm will play Hardanger fiddle from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reservations for the Passport Dinner are required and can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit vesterheim.org or call (563) 382-9681.