West central Minnesota Syttende Mai celebrations fill a weekend with Norwegian culture

The annual Syttende Mai events to take place in Milan, Sunburg and Norway Lake.

Ann Thompson hands out Norwegian flags during the 16th annual "A Taste of Syttende Mai," Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Milan.
Milan, Sunburg and the Norway Lake Lutheran Historical Association will all be celebrating Syttende Mai next weekend.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune file photo

SUNBURG โ€” Whether you have a drop of Norwegian blood or not, everyone can celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day, better known as Syttende Mai.

Starting May 19, there will be three Syttende Mai celebrations taking place in the area. All will include food, entertainment and a love for Norwegian culture.

It starts at 6:30 p.m. May 19 at First Lutheran Church of Norway Lake, 9 miles east of New London on Kandiyohi County Road 40. The Norway Lake Lutheran Historical Association is holding its annual Syttende Mai celebration. The event includes a catered meatball supper that includes rommegrot, lefse, krumkakke, lemon bars and other tasty treats.

Norway Lake Syttende Mai desserts.jpg
There will be plenty of sweet desserts to choose from at the Norway Lake Lutheran Historical Association Syttende Mai supper May 19.
Contributed / Norway Lake Lutheran Historical Association

The entertainment for the evening will be Custom Made Band, featuring Kris Nelson-Jenson and Steve Mahlum.

Everyone is welcome and the association urges people to spread the word about the supper to their friends and neighbors. While not required, those planning to attend can RSVP on the event's Facebook page , to give planners a general count.


Next up on is A Taste of Syttende Mai on Saturday, May 20, in Milan . This year is the 17th annual celebration.

Highlights include the Kviteseid Smorgaas Tea at the Kviteseid Church from 10 a.m. to 1p.m., musicians playing in downtown Milan from noon to 2 p.m. and the Uff-da Parade starting at 2 p.m. Visitors will be able to enjoy traditional Norwegian arts, crafts and food throughout the day. There will also be vendors and children's activities.

A woman dresses in Viking attire while riding in a float at the 16th annual "A Taste of Syttende Mai," Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Milan.
A woman dresses in Viking attire while riding in a float at the 16th annual "A Taste of Syttende Mai," Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Milan. This year's celebration takes place May 20.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The most Norwegian of weekends wraps up on May 21 with the 18th Sunburg Syttende Mai festival. The activities include a tractor pull, car show, baseball, a parade and a fiddling performance.

The fun begins with the pancake breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church followed by a 9:30 a.m. non-denominational service at the church. Those wanting to take part in the tractor pull can begin registering at 9 a.m. at Glacial Plains Co-op, with the event to begin at 10:45 a.m. Spectators should bring their own chairs.

A boutique will open up at 11 a.m. in the Sunburg Community Center with various vendors and the Sunburg Troll Car Club will open its display in downtown Sunburg at noon.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Reigstad Park for the baseball game between the Norway Lake-Sunburg Lakers and the New London-Spicer Twins. After the final out, spectators can line up to watch the Grande Day Parade at 3 p.m.

Starting at 4 p.m. behind the community center there will be a fiddle program with the Sunburg Community Fiddlers. Joining the fiddlers will be special guests Dempsey Schroeder and Maggie Harp. Spectators should bring a chair to sit on.

A highlight of Sunburg's Syttende Mai is the parade.
Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo

Also starting at 4 p.m. is the firemen's supper at the fire hall. The kids pedal tractor pull will start at 4:30 p.m. behind the fire hall.


The celebration wraps up with the 5:30 p.m. Troll Car Club raffle drawing and the 6 p.m. quilt raffle drawing, both at the fire hall.

Syttende Mai, literally the "seventeenth of May," is Constitution Day, to celebrate the signing of the Constitution of Norway on May 17, 1814. It declared Norway an independent kingdom following the Napoleonic Wars, though there was an official union between Sweden and Norway until 1905. The day is celebrated across the nation and internationally where Norwegian migrants have settled.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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