Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge gets ready for Norwegian Day Parade

John Quaglione named civic grand marshal

May 16, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Leaders of the parade committee march in last year’s parade up Third Avenue. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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Bay Ridge’s Third Avenue will look like a grand boulevard in Oslo on Sunday, May 21, as the 65th Annual Norwegian Day Parade takes place, bringing hundreds of visitors to the neighborhood to enjoy the sights and sounds of a big day.

The parade, officially called the 17th of May Parade, marks the anniversary of the signing of Norway’s Constitution. It has become a beloved tradition in Bay Ridge ever since the first one was held in 1952.

The parade always takes place on the Sunday closest to May 17. The march is sponsored by the Norwegian American 17th of May Parade Committee of Greater New York.

The big march promises to be a treat for the eyes and ears, featuring plenty of marchers dressed like Vikings and children in folk costumes waving Norwegian flags.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Journeying Through 65 Years.”

Here is the parade route: The starting point is 80th Street and Third Avenue at 1:30 p.m. The parade proceeds along Third Avenue to Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street), and then turns right at Bay Ridge Avenue and goes up to Fifth Avenue. The marchers will then make a left on Fifth Avenue and proceed to 67th Street, where they will turn right and march along 67th Street to a spot in Leif Ericson Park located between Sixth and Seventh avenues for a post-parade ceremony at the reviewing stand.

Lawyer Jeremy R. Del Rio, a Bay Ridge resident who co-founded of Thrive Collective, a nonprofit that provides art instruction and mentoring in public schools, will be the guest speaker at the ceremony.

John Quaglione, a lifelong resident of Bay Ridge, has been named a parsed grand marshal for civic endeavors.

Quaglione, who is chairman of the board of directors of Saint Anselm Catholic Academy and the co-chairman of the Brooklyn Committee of the March of Dimes, is also a second-degree knight of the Knights of Columbus. Quaglione serves as deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) and is a Republican candidate for Bay Ridge’s City Council seat.

“As someone who recognizes and appreciates the strong roots of the Norwegian people in our community, I am honored to have been selected to be this year’s civic marshal. For years, I have supported the annual 17th of May Parade, been a four-time judge in the Miss Norway Contest and have worked to advance the mission of the Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center. This parade further celebrates the great diversity of our neighborhood, and I am looking forward to marching with my family in this year’s parade!” Quaglione told the Brooklyn Eagle.

In many ways, the Norwegian Day Parade represents the passion Bay Ridge residents have for keeping their traditions intact.

The parade, which began at a time in the 1950s when Bay Ridge was home to tens of thousands of Norwegian-Americans, has maintained its popularity despite the fact that the Norwegian-American population has steadily decreased throughout the decades.

The parade route has been moved twice over the years, according to Barbara Berntsen, the parade’s general chairperson.

In a message to on the parade committee’s website, she outlined the history.

“The changing times in Brooklyn brought us to the realization that we needed to switch to different avenues over the 65 years. We began marching down Eighth Avenue in Bay Ridge. At the time, it was called Lapskaus Boulevard. After many years, the switch to Fifth Avenue was necessary. In recent years we have moved our parade to Third Avenue,” Berntsen wrote.

There are more than 4.5 million people of Norwegian ancestry in the U.S. today, according to Berntsen.

For more information, visit www.may17paradeny.com.

 


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