Gratulerer med dagen, Congratulations on the day!
For the first time in a lot of years (my memory does not do back far enough to remember too many years) Syttende Mai, the 17th of May, was celebrated on the actual day, with a parade. The peoples parade (folketoget) for the Norwegian Constitution Day was held in Park Ridge, Illinois on Sunday and was attended by many people in the Chicago area Norwegian community (or as some would call it, “the Norwegian Colony in Chicago”).
For those of you who are not familiar with the Chicago celebration, we gather in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago on the Sunday nearest to May 17. The actual celebration events start on Thursday before the parade and ends with the parade on Sunday. We have 4 days of events including several luncheons and banquets, a concert at Minnekirken (the Norwegian Church), and other private and public gatherings. A few years ago our friend Lodve Solholm commented that we celebrate longer here than in Norway.
Members of various groups marched in the parade, starting at Talcott and Cumberland and walking down Cumberland to the Park Ridge city hall. I was a participant in the march walking along with my friends in the Torske Klub, one of many groups that I am a member. We passed friends along the way waving the flag of Norway, yelling “Hip Hip Hurrah”. Some of these friends had a distinctively “accented” cheer.
At the reviewing stand Lynn Sove Maxson provided the onlooker a running commentary of each group that walked by, pointing out the highlights of the group, its members and any other tidbit that came to her mind. Here too sat the dignitaries and honored guests including the Chicago Honorary Consul General, Paul S. Anderson and wife Lindy, Parade Grand Marshal, Lorraine Straw, Honorary Parade Grand Marshal, Ola T. Lånke, Vice President of the Lagting (Norway Parliament) and his wife Berit.
After the parade the national anthems of Norway and the United States of America were played by the Maine South High School Band, speeches and greeting were made by all of the dignitaries and scholarship awards were presented to youths of the community. The folk dancing group Leikarringen “Heimhug” the oldest existing Scandinavian folk dance group in the Chicago area, presented viewers with an exhibition of Scandinavian “ring dances”.
||The dance ended with a “Grand March” where everyone was invited to participate.
It was great to see many of my friends at the festivities, all of which (at least today) were Norwegian.
Ken Nordan, Contributing Editor
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