17th of May. Constitution Day. It’s a big, big thing in Norway. Bunads are donned throughout the country. Parades dominate the streets. Celebrations abound in every town. And even though you’re not in the country, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out. In fact, we’ve attended the annual 17.Mai celebration in the city, sponsored by the Norwegian Seamans Church, every year we’ve been able to. Last Saturday was no exception.
The parade and festivities took place at a different locale than in previous years. We were at Fort Miley and in many ways, it seemed better for this group than Crissy Field. It was much more secluded and the views over Ocean Beach were spectacular. There was a large grassy area for the many contests – burlap sack races, potato & spoon relays, and tug-of-war. There’s also a few sets of stilts for those wanting to test their sense of balance. Some people clearly have ample time to practice.
The parade took most of the group down the hill to a memorial. A large Norwegian flag led the group and a drum kept the group in beat with the tunes. Afterward, hot dogs, ice cream and other treats awaited everyone.
But Fort Miley offered more entertainment for children than the usual. Kids disappeared into the trees and found many woodsy areas to explore. Kids being kids, quickly made friends and were off.
Though the weather wasn’t the greatest and I never took off my jacket, it was a successful celebration giving everyone a chance to feel at least a bit of connection to their roots and kinship with families and friends in Norway.