Syttende Mai Celebration
- Free museum admission and extended hours from to The Museum Store will also be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- 10:00 a.m. - Gallery Talks for the exhibition Flora Metamorphicae
- 10:30 a.m. - Tour of the buildings in the Open Air Division.
- 1:00 p.m. - Gallery talk with guest curator/intern Mary Claire Vuckovich for the special display Alt for Norge: Celebrating 200 Years of the Norwegian Constitution.
- 1:30 p.m. - John Yilek, teacher of the popular Norwegian history course each fall at the Mindekirken in Minneapolis, will help Vesterheim mark the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution with a presentation exploring the forces that led to Norway's independence from Denmark and the signing of the constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814. This engaging presentation will reveal stories of the people and events of that period, including the first celebrations of Syttende Mai.
- 2:00 p.m. - Gather at the Winneshiek County Courthouse for the Children's Parade.
- 2:30 p.m. - Children's Parade through Decorah led by Decorah's Nordic Dancers. The route starts on Main Street in Decorah at the Winneshiek County Courthouse, then travels north along Washington Street to Water Street, then west on Water Street to Mill Street. Everyone is invited to march along, or cheer from the sidewalks. Norwegian flags will be provided for everyone marching. Decorah Lions children’s train, Pokey Pete, will help lead the parade and will be available for rides.
- 2:50 p.m. - Vesterheim welcome and Decorah's Nordic Dancers perform on Mill St. at the museum.
- 3:30 p.m. - Tour of the buildings in the Open Air Division.
- 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. - Street dance with Decorah's popular Scandinavian-American old-time dance band, Foot-Notes. Come to Mill St. next to the museum and join the fun.
In case of inclement weather, the parade and Nordic Dancers will be canceled and the Foot-Notes will perform in Vesterheim’s Bethania Church.
From 1:30-4:00 p.m. the Nordic Dancers will be holding a "Blomster Salg," flower sale, in the couryard next to the museum. Support this local group and get ready to plant your garden with these flower starts.
Syttende Mai, May 17, is the day Norway ratified its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll. This year is the bicentennial anniversary of the signing of the consitution and there are special celebrations all over Norway and the United States.
“Norwegians did not become independent from Sweden until 1905 and until then Syttende Mai celebrations were frowned upon and even forbidden,” Martha Griesheimer, Event Coordinator, said.
“Now, Norwegians celebrate their independence with excited crowds, especially of children, marching through the streets waving flags, singing songs, and celebrating their nation’s independence,” she continued.
“Syttende Mai at Vesterheim is a great opportunity to celebrate freedom wherever it occurs,” Griesheimer added.