King Harald to Washington and Alaska

Ballard’s Bergen Place and Pacific Lutheran University will host public events

Photo: Emily C. Skaftun The mural at Bergen Place was initially installed the last time King Harald visited, and has been recently updated and restored.

Photo: Emily C. Skaftun
The mural at Bergen Place was initially installed the last time King Harald visited, and has been recently updated and restored.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

His Majesty King Harald V of Norway will be arriving in Washington State on Wednesday, May 20, for the first time in 20 years. His visit to the U.S. will continue on to Anchorage on May 24, marking his first visit to Alaska.

The public has three opportunities to see the King during his historic visit to the Pacific Northwest.

On Friday, May 22, the Friends of Bergen Place will host King Harald in celebration of Bergen Place Park’s new mural, which honors Ballard’s Nordic heritage. The 52-foot long mural was originally placed at Bergen Place in 1995—the year of King Harald’s last visit to Seattle—and has recently been updated with the help of Canadian artists Mike Svob and Allen Wiley, Pacific Studios of Ballard, and Pacific Fishermen of Ballard. This event will feature a performance by the Ballard High School Women’s Chamber Choir.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will welcome the King upon his arrival to Bergen Place at 4:15 p.m., and the bell in the Centennial Bell Tower will ring at 4:20 to honor his visit. The celebration at Bergen Place is the ideal opportunity for Norwegian Americans in the Seattle area to see the King.

In honor of Pacific Lutheran University’s 125th anniversary, King Harald will tour the PLU campus on Saturday, May 23. The public is encouraged to welcome the King to PLU at 11:15 a.m. at the Centennial Plaza (Red Square). Music and other entertainment will begin at 10:45 a.m., and the crowd will receive free Norwegian and American flags to wave.

Photo courtesy of PLU His Majesty King Harald V.

Photo courtesy of PLU
His Majesty King Harald V.

Following the tour of the campus and a private reception with students, King Harald will deliver PLU’s commencement address at 2:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. He will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws jure dignitatis for his promotion of the Lutheran tradition of higher education, representation of Norway’s Lutheran heritage, long-standing commitment to education, and care for a just and sustainable world through service. The commencement ceremony is the King’s final public appearance of his Washington visit.

In addition to his public appearances, King Harald’s visit to Washington includes several private engagements. On May 21, the King will join Governor Jay Inslee and Washington business leaders for a late lunch. He will meet with leaders in the tourism industry, visit the Pacific Fisherman Shipyard, and attend a gala dinner on May 22, in addition to his participation at Bergen Place. The remainder of his stay in Washington is dedicated to his engagements at PLU.

Upon his arrival in Alaska, King Harald will observe Memorial Day. His itinerary continues with a visit to the city of Homer and dinner with Governor Bill Walker on May 26. On his final day in Alaska, May 27, the King will attend the INTSOK seminar Operations in Arctic Waters and the opening of the Polar Night: Life and Light in the Dead of Night exhibition at Anchorage Museum, as well as present opening remarks at “The U.S. & Norway in the Quest for Arctic Knowledge” conference.

The King’s visit to Alaska marks the end of his trip to the U.S., honoring the many connections between Norway and the U.S., and HM King Harald V will return home to Oslo on May 28.

This article originally appeared in the May 15, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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