Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge’s Norwegian Day Parade set for May 15

May 11, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of the parade organizing committee proudly carry their banner in last year’s parade. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

The Vikings are coming! The 64th Annual 17th of May Parade, one of Bay Ridge’s most beloved traditions, is coming this weekend.

The parade, which is held every year to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian Constitution, will take place on Sunday, May 15, on Third Avenue, starting at 1:30 p.m.

The big march traditionally takes place on the Sunday closest to May 17, Norway’s Constitution Day.

Sponsored by the Norwegian-American 17th of May Committee of Greater New York, Inc., the parade serves to keep the cultural heritage alive in New York City, according to a statement on the organizing committee’s website, www.may17paradeny.com.

At one time, Bay Ridge was home to tens of thousands of immigrants from Norway. While the number of Norwegian-Americans has decreased significantly over the last 40 years, those who remain organize the festive parade every year to celebrate their heritage.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Saluting Norwegian Immigrants.’

The parade begins on Third Avenue and 80th Street. Marchers proceed along Third Avenue to Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and then along Bay Ridge Avenue to Fifth Avenue. The parade route goes along Fifth Avenue to 67th Street and then up 67th Street to Leif Ericson Park. The reviewing stand will be located inside the park on 67th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

In a message on the committee’s website, Barbara Berntsen, the parade’s general chairperson, wrote Norwegian immigrants have contributed a lot of the U.S.

“There was a mass exodus of families from Norway which began in the early19th Century. Thousands of Norwegians settled in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. We still have Norwegian travelers who come to the U.S.A. to learn trades. Actors, musicians, architects, engineers, all enhance our cities. When you cross the George Washington Bridge or go through a tunnel. Think of the Norwegian builders who worked to provide travelers a safer route into New York City and the boroughs,” Berntsen wrote. 

Today, there are more than 4.5 million people of Norwegian ancestry living in the U.S.

For more information on the parade, visit www.may17paradeny.com.