17th of May Parade brings out Norwegian in everyone
Everyone was Norwegian in Bay Ridge on Sunday, even if they weren’t born Norwegian!
A special Scandinavian spirit took over the neighborhood as the 63rd Annual 17th of May Parade — also known as the Norwegian Day Parade — took place on Third Avenue.
There were plenty of marchers wearing Viking helmets, floats that resembled Viking ships and scores of participants waving Norwegian flags in the parade. The marchers included church groups, members of civic and political organizations, Sons of Norway lodges, cops, firefighters and even bagpipe bands.
“The community joins together to watch us celebrate Constitution Day. It is a day when everyone can ‘be Norwegian,’” Parade General Chairman Barbara Berntsen wrote in a message on the parade committee’s website.
Thousands of spectators lined Third Avenue to enjoy the parade.
Sponsored by the Norwegian-American 17th of May Committee of Greater New York, the parade commemorates the anniversary of the signing of Norway’s Constitution in 1814.
The theme for the 2015 parade was “Celebrating 1,000 Years of Christianity.”
The parade participants marched along Third Avenue from 80th Street to Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and then marched up 69th Street to Fifth Avenue. At Fifth Avenue, the marchers made a left turn and marched to 67th Street, and then marched up 67th Street and into Leif Erikson Park, where the parade grandstand was located.
By tradition, the parade takes place in the Sunday closest to Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17. This year, the parade was held on May 17 itself, adding to the excitement of the event.
Miss Norway of Greater New York 2015, Lauren Benson, who was crowned in April, rode the parade route in an open air convertible. Sitting beside her was Britt Henricksen, Miss Heritage of Greater New York.
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