Ready, set, go for the 17th of May

Brooklyn gears up for Norway’s big holiday

Photo courtesy of Ellen Lindstrom
The Swedish Meatballs will perform at several of these events. Probably not in masquerade.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Salty Dog is the place where we kicked off the 17th of May celebrations in Brooklyn with a fundraiser. It is partially through the generosity of owner George Kabbez, who gives the venue (which houses an entire fire truck) and food gratis to support the parade, that we continue to march on. This year’s fundraiser was held on April 2 and brought in a little under $5,000. The Third Avenue Merchants Association made a large donation towards the event, and the 17th of May Committee thanks them, Kabbez, and all who donated prizes or food.

Individuals from all backgrounds came to support Bay Ridge’s beloved parade, celebrating its 65th year this May. But the parade isn’t all there is to Brooklyn’s Syttende Mai. Other events surrounding the parade can be seen below. So put them in your calendar and save the dates!

Church Rally: May 6, 6:30 p.m., Norwegian Christian Home, 1250 67th St. The speaker will be Pastor Øyvind Kvarstein from the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. “This year’s special music will be from the Norwegian Seamen’s Church and promises to be special as they share traditional Norwegian parade songs for the evening. Truly a great time of fellowship amongst people from various churches sharing the common thread of Norwegian pride!” says Shirley Olsen, Parade Church Group Chair.

Norwegian War Sailors Ceremony to Remember the Liberation of Norway and the Brave Men who Fought for Freedom: May 8, 10:00 a.m., Norwegian Veterans Monument, Battery Park, NYC. This event is organized by the Scandinavian East Coast Museum in partnership with the Norwegian Consulate of New York and the Norwegian Seamen’s Church.

Ibsen’s Houses: Architectural Metaphor and the Modern Uncanny, with Author Mark B. Sandberg: May 8, 7:00 p.m., Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Theatre for a New Audience presents this event as part of their Open Books series. Free; reservations encouraged.

Heritage Music: The weekend before the parade. Date and time TBA. DJ Sean LeFleur offers a breadth of Scandinavian music from the 1920s to the 1990s. Part of this program will include an unusual sing-a-long. Sponsored by the Scandinavian East Coast Museum. (718) 748-5950 or

17th Annual Viking Fest: May 20, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Owl’s Head/Bliss Park, 86th St & Colonial Rd. The festival will feature Norseman Viking Ship and Crew, re-enactors, and performances by Ellen Lindstrom, Clann Eireann Pipers, Donny Golden Step Dancers, YDIR. Sponsored by the Scandinavian East Coast Museum.

17th of May Parade: May 21, 1:30 p.m., begins along Third Avenue and 80th Street and ends at Leif Ericson park on 67th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. Reviewing stand between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Guest Speaker Jeremy R. Del Rio, Esq. “co-founded and leads Thrive Collective, a nonprofit that creates hope and opportunity through arts and mentoring in public schools.” Guest singers include Tenor Daniel Rodriguez performing the national anthems and the Lord’s prayer with visiting men’s choir from Norway, Øvre Rendal Mannskor.

After Parade Celebrations
Danish Athletic Club: 741 65th St., doors open at 1:00 p.m. Food service starts at 3:00 p.m. Dinner is $30 per adult or $10 per child (10 to 15), with children age nine and under free. Featuring the music of Jeanne Eriksson Andersen & Smørgasbandet. For reservations call The Danish Club at (718) 748-7844.

Gjøa: 850 62nd St. Scandinavian food, as well as drinks, live music, and dancing after the parade. (718) 745-9436 or

Nansen Lodge: In Staten Island, Nansen Lodge holds a great bash after the parade. 3441 Victory Blvd. Beginning at 3:00, Nansen’s afterparty costs $10 and will include music by Ellen Lindstrom and a buffet dinner. Cash bar. (718) 356-8395.

This article originally appeared in the April 21, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Victoria Hofmo

Victoria Hofmo was born, raised, and still lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the historical heart of Norwegian New York. She is 3/4 Scandinavian: 1/2 Norwegian and 1/4 Danish/Swedish. Self-employed, she runs an out-of-school-time program that articulates learning through the arts. Hofmo is an advocate for arts and culture, education, and the preservation of the built and natural environment of her hometown, with a love for most things Scandinavian.