Syttende Mai Minnesota
The Twin Cities celebrate in style
LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American
Norwegian Constitution Day is always a special day in Minnesota, a state with a strong Norwegian heritage and home to many Norwegian-American cultural institutions.
With the 17th of May falling on a Tuesday this year, several days of activities are being planned throughout the week. Here are some of the highlights.
At the heart of the Twin Cities Norwegian community is Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, in existence for over 100 years. As is tradition, a Sunday service will be held on May 15 in the sanctuary at 11 a.m., followed by an afternoon of festive activities.
This year, former Mindekirken Pastor Kristin Sundt will preside over the service with musical performances, including the Mindekirken Choir. The celebration will continue in the church’s Fellowship Hall and in the parking lot, with dancing and singing. Hot dogs, soda, chips, and ice cream will be available for a small fee at this family celebration. Come rain or shine, everyone is welcome to join in the Syttende Mai parade around the block.
Adjacent to Mindekirken is Norway House, the National Norwegian Center in America. The cafe will be open at 10 a.m. on May 15, so church-goers can grab a cup of coffee and mingle before the service at Mindekirken.
The Norway House Gallery, where visitors can view the popular exhibit “Terje Lundaas: Hot Glass Design at Norway House,” will be open free of charge throughout the day.
The Also Ingebretsen’s gift shop will also be open, for those looking for a flag, ribbon, or other Norwegian souvenir. Currently, a special commemorative Norway House Syttende Mai ribbon and pin designed by Sylvsmidja in Voss, Norway, are available for purchase.
For those celebrating at home, you can find the Syttende Mai specialities you need at Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace, located on Lake Street, only a short drive from Mindekirken and Norway House.
In existence for more than 100 years, the deli at Ingebretsen’s offers all the Norwegian foodstuffs you need for your Syttende Mai feast. You will find the same decorations and souvenirs found at Norway House at this flagship store, a home of all things Nordic, plus much more, and you can order online.
If you’re a visitor to the Twin Cities, a stop at Ingbretsen’s is an absolute must. It’s a store and cultural center all wrapped into one.
Syttende Mai Minnesota
Finally, when the big day comes on May 17, there will be no shortage of fanfare at the Syttende Mai Minnesota banquet at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.
This will be the 40th year of this time-honored celebration, and after two years of virtual events because of pandemic lockdowns, the Syttende Mai Minnesota committee is pulling out all the stops.
Featured guest artist speakers are Veslemøy Ruud Zwart and Harald Zwart, direct from Norway, where they have produced and directed several acclaimed feature films released on both sides of the Atlantic.
Here at one of Minnesota’s premiere venues, you can expect nothing but the best, with a full-course gourmet meal served to you on tables decked out with Norwegian flags as far as you can see. A Norwegian men’s chorus will perform, and there will be a chance for you to join in on your favorite Norwegian songs. Tickets are available until May 10.
This article originally appeared in the May 6, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.