What’s Happening May 13-19

Did you know the world’s largest Norwegian Constitution Day celebration outside of Norway is held in one of Seattle’s neighborhoods? On May 17, the Norwegian community invites all to the historically Nordic neighborhood of Ballard to celebrate Norway’s official National Day, referred to as 17th of May (Syttende Mai) or The Constitution Day (Grunnlovsdagen).

“The 17th of May is something we have celebrated in Seattle since the 1889, so 133 years. [The celebration] marks when Norway got its own constitution,” said Anne-Lise Berger, the president of 17th of May Seattle.

“We were in a union with Denmark and wanted to become independent. So, we got our own constitution, but we didn’t get our own freedom. We had to stay in union with Sweden for another 100 years almost. Having been occupied or been under so many other monarchs for 500 years, Norway finally became independent in 1905,” she said, “and now we’re very nationalistic. We really like to celebrate.”

Over the years, the 17th of May celebration in Seattle has taken place at locations like Christensen Hall, the Moore Theatre, the Civic Auditorium, the Opera House and the Norway Center. Madison Park, Salmon Bay Park, Volunteer Park and Leschi Park also hosted many celebrations.

Norwegian Americans travel from across the region to join their community and celebrate with Norwegian ambassadors, mayors and other notable figures. This year, Anniken R. Krutnes, Norway’s first woman ambassador to the United States, is a special guest at the celebration.

The biggest festivity planned each year is the 17th of May Parade (held this year from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.). The parade includes Norwegian groups like Daughters of Norway, Sons of Norway and the Norwegian Commercial Club. There also will be high school bands, dancing groups, churches and more. The parade historically draws a crowd of thousands, so it’s important to claim your spectator spot early, Berger said.


Other celebrations this year include: youth activities like “Nordic Express” train rides and visits with Norwegian Fjord horses 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the National Nordic Museum (2655 N.W. Market St.), live traditional music and food 2-5 p.m. at Bergen Place Park (22nd Ave. N.W.) and Scandinavian treats, coffee and live music 1-5 p.m. at the Leif Erikson Lodge (2245 N.W. 57th St.).

“The 17th of May is the most important thing we do in our community. For me, it means a lot. My son, ever since he could walk, has always been in Ballard watching or part of the parade. It binds us together,” she said.

The 17th of May celebration will take place in multiple locations around Ballard. Find more information online: 17thofmay.org

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening May 13-19 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please email your event details to weekend@seattletimes.com.

SUPERFINE — May 12-15

Enjoy a contemporary art fair highlighting the work of LGBTQ+ artists, artists of color and female artists. Purchase tickets online; $25. 115 Bell St., Seattle; superfine.world/seattle-art-fair-seattle-summer-events

Seattle Beer Week — May 13-21

The 13th annual Seattle Beer Week includes more than 30 events at nearly 20 venues. Enjoy special beer releases, tap takeovers, pairings and the annual Beer Can Derby. Free. Location varies; seattlebeerweek.com


Experience Bellevue! — May 14

Experience Bellevue! invites participants to Bellevue City Hall and sites around the city for more than 20 tours, workshops and interactive activities throughout the day. Take a walking tour of Wilburton or the Spring District, visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden, explore distinctive neighborhoods and more. Register online; $10/all sessions and coffee and pastries at City Hall; $23/addition of a sack lunch. Location varies; 425-452-6836; bellevuewa.gov/neighborhoodsconference

Mighty-O Tour de Donut — May 14

Mighty-O Donuts and Bike Benefits’ annual pedal tour around the city fueled by doughnuts and coffee returns at 9:30 a.m. Participants can stop at one or all locations and receive their goodies. Kids are invited to do a mini Tour de Donut around Green Lake. Purchase tickets online; $25. 1555 N.W. Market St., Seattle; mightyo.com

Kent Community Kids Bike Rodeo — May 14

The city of Kent and the Kent Bicycle Advisory Board present an interactive noncompetitive skills course designed for kids to improve their bike handling and traffic safety skills 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Participants will learn about stop signs, crosswalks and approaching corners, as well as being considerate around other bikers and pedestrians. There also will be helmet fittings and a helmet giveaway. Register and download waiver online; free. 10828 S.E. 248th St., Kent; 253-856-5200; kentwa.gov

Seattle Health Fair — May 14

The Endocrine Society partners with the University of Washington, Sea Mar Community Health Centers and Lilly Diabetes to host a health fair focusing on diabetes, obesity and heart health 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be free diabetes and cholesterol screenings, groceries, exercise and cooking demos and more. Free. 9635 Des Moines Memorial Drive S., Seattle; endocrine.org/seattleec

Washington State Day Trips Top Destinations — May 14

King County Library System hosts an online class to learn about top outdoor destinations within a couple of hours of Seattle with local travel guide Scott Isom at 11 a.m. From Mount Rainier to the Olympic Peninsula and the islands of Puget Sound, Isom will share some of his favorite nearby adventures, including well-known destinations and hidden gems. Register online; free. kcls.org

Spirit of Africa — May 14 

Seattle Center Festál continues with Spirit of Africa, a one-day virtual event streamed live from La Mer à Table in Dakar, Senegal, produced in partnership with Thione Diop and Inspired Child at 3 p.m. Streaming on Facebook and YouTube; free. seattlecenter.com/events/featured-events/festal/spirit-of-africa


UW Night Market — May 14

The Taiwanese Student Association at the University of Washington hosts the 22nd annual UW Night Market, a festival of food, activities and entertainment that brings Taiwan’s culture to life 5:30-10:30 p.m. Free. 4063 Spokane Lane, Seattle; uwnightmarket.com

“Tres minutos” — May 15

Music of Remembrance returns to Benaroya Hall for its final live concert of the season with the world premiere of “Tres minutos,” a story about a family separated by the U.S.-Mexico border at 5:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online; $47. 200 University St., Seattle; 206-365-7770; musicofremembrance.org

UNITY: A Concert for Ukraine — May 16

Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and Seattle Opera present a benefit concert for Ukrainian artists at 7:30 p.m. The PNB Orchestra will be joined by Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova and others for a performance featuring Ukrainian folk songs, music by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Delibes and more. All proceeds will be donated to the Pegaz Cultural Association, an organization working with the Poznań Opera House in Poland and other local organizations to support Ukrainian artists who have taken refuge in Poland. Purchase tickets online; give-what-you-can with a minimum of $10. 321 Mercer St., Seattle; 206-441-2424; pnb.org

Snake River to Salish Sea Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey — May 19

Join Lummi tribal members, the House of Tears Carvers and the intertribal nonprofit Se’Si’Le to witness the Snake River to Salish Sea Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey 6-8 p.m. The event includes an intertribal roundtable, guest speakers and ceremonial moments steeped in ancestral knowledge. Register online; free. 4249 Whitman Court N.E., Seattle; spiritofthewaters.org