Miss Norway returns to Brooklyn for its 59th year

There she is… Miss Norway!

It’s that time of year again, as the Norwegian community is set to host its 59th Annual Miss Norway of Greater New York Contest, to be held on Saturday, April 12 at Arthur Nilsen Banquet Hall in The Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center. Although the title emphasizes New York and the event will be held in Brooklyn, contestants from all over the world have participated, such as Minnesota and Norway.

The long-time fans of the competition can expect different rules than in past years.

“We’ve narrowed down the amount of contestants to 12 girls. That way it’s more controlled. In the past, there were too many girls. It was too long and we didn’t get to spotlight the girls the way we wanted to,” said Arlene Rutuelo, owner of Nordic Deli and Miss Norway Committee leader.

The first 12 girls that send in their applications get to participate. Those who were late in entering are encouraged to try again next year.

Though most pageants are perceived to be just physical beauty-based, Miss Norway does not fit that mold.

“It’s not just a beauty contest. The caliber of girls is remarkable. They have vision. We are always in awe of their resumes,” said Rutuelo. “We look at the beauty and the whole package. We look for those that embrace Norwegian culture.”

Those scheduled to judge are State Senator Marty Golden as well as other individuals from the Norwegian community.

“They are very thorough with the questions they ask,” she said. “They ask about Norway and their heritage. Listening to their answers and where they’ve been is truly amazing.”

The grand prize winner receives a paid trip to Norway. There are prizes for runner-ups as well.

The little ones aren’t left out of the tradition. Children get to enter in their own competition, Little Miss Norway.

“Eighteen little girls and boys participate as well. We’re trying to teach them to learn about their heritage and embrace their culture as well. It’s exciting,” she said.

All the children that participate are winners as they will all march and ride in a wagon at the Norwegian Day Parade, which will be held, this year, on Sunday, May 18.

There are lots of festivities taking place during the day of the Miss Norway contest besides the competition. “We have music, a luncheon, Little Miss Norway as well as raffle prizes. It’s a real fun afternoon,” said Rutuelo.

The event is a popular one too, as tickets seem to go quickly. “Usually we’re sold out. In past years, we’ve had to extend tables into the hall. If you want to come and take part, come early,” she said.

Rutuelo understands the significance this traditional event has. “We are few in number, not like we were in years past,” she said. “We’re cultivating and keeping our heritage alive and trying to make Bay Ridge a destination so people come back for Miss Norway and the parade. It’s important for us as community.”

Tickets to the event, which starts at 2 p.m., are $35 for adults, $15 for children under 12. For ticket information, contact Rutuelo at 718-748-1874 or arlenerutuelo@gmail.com.

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