Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum will celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s “Constitution Day,” with a street dance Friday evening, May 17, and a traditional Children’s Parade, plus family activities Saturday, May 18.The Syttende Mai celebration events are free and museum admission is free Saturday, May 18. Syttende Mai at Vesterheim is sponsored by Jeff and Marilyn Roverud of Decorah and Rockwell Collins. (Submitted photos)
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum will celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s “Constitution Day,” with a street dance Friday evening, May 17, and a traditional Children’s Parade, plus family activities Saturday, May 18.The Syttende Mai celebration events are free and museum admission is free Saturday, May 18. Syttende Mai at Vesterheim is sponsored by Jeff and Marilyn Roverud of Decorah and Rockwell Collins. (Submitted photos)

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum will celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway's "Constitution Day," with a street dance Friday evening, May 17, and a traditional Children's Parade, plus family activities Saturday, May 18.

The Syttende Mai celebration events are free and museum admission is free Saturday, May 18. Syttende Mai at Vesterheim is sponsored by Jeff and Marilyn Roverud of Decorah, Iowa, and Rockwell Collins.

Syttende Mai, May 17, is the day Norway ratified its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll and Norwegians celebrate their independence with excited crowds-especially children-marching through the streets waving flags, singing songs, and celebrating their nation's independence.

The festivities at Vesterheim will begin on May 17 with a dance by Decorah's popular Scandinavian-American old-time dance band, Foot-Notes. Come and kick up your heels from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Mill St. next to the museum's Main Building. Decorah Lions will sell popcorn. Rain location will be announced.

The celebration will continue on May 18 with a traditional children's parade at 10:30 a.m. 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 at the museum from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Following the parade, Decorah's Nordic Dancers will perform on Mill St. next to the museum's Main Building.

There will be children's activities around the museum from 12:00-2:00 p.m. and a guided tour of the buildings in the museum's Open Air Division at 1:30 p.m.

The Syttende Mai celebration is a good time to view the museum's exhibition "The Sámi Reindeer People of Alaska." At 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Laurann Gilbertson, Vesterheim Chief Curator, will present a gallery talk about this exhibition.

In case of inclement weather, the parade and Nordic Dancers will be canceled, but other activities will continue as scheduled.

For complete schedules of events, exhibitions and classes, and more information about ways to donate, check out Vesterheim online at vesterheim.org.