Bay Ridge

Norwegian pride shines in Bay Ridge

Perfect weather graces 65th Annual Norwegian Day Parade

May 22, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sophie Feldman, who won the Miss Heritage title in the Miss Norway of Greater New York contest, enjoys riding the parade route. Eagle photos by Paula Katinas
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The weather was perfect for the 65th Annual Norwegian Day Parade on Sunday with bright, sunny skies greeting the marchers and spectators for the big event.

Officially called the 17th of May Parade, the march is known as the Norwegian Day Parade to the generations of Bay Ridge residents who have lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Miss Norway of Greater New York and to watch marchers wearing traditional dresses waving Norwegian flags.

The parade, which celebrates the anniversary of the signing of Norway’s Constitution, also featured lots of shaped like Viking ships, marching bands, Sons of Norway lodges, church groups, civic organizations and young soccer players.

By tradition, the parade 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.

In honor of the 65th anniversary of the parade, the committee selected the theme “Journeying Through 65 Years” for this year’s event.

A large portion of the route ran along Third Avenue. Miss Norway of Greater New York Kristen Johnson drew cheers and smiles as she rode the parade route in a top down convertible. Miss Heritage Sophie Feldman was also warmly received by the crowds of spectators lining the avenue.

The parade ended in Leif Ericson Park on 67th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, where the reviewing stand was located and where a post-parade ceremony took place.

The parade, which began in 1952, a time 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.

“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.

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