The beloved Brooklyn tradition that is the Norwegian Day Parade returned to Bay Ridge on Sunday, May 20 in a grand celebration of Norwegian culture.
The parade — which reflects the fact that southwest Brooklyn was once home to many Scandinavians — was organized by the Norwegian-American 17th of May Parade Committee of Greater New York.
The parade itself is held to commemorate the signing of the Norwegian Constitution on May 17, 1814. Because of this, parade organizers including Arlene Rutuelo, general chairperson of the Norwegian American 17th of May Committee of Greater New York, hold the parade on the Sunday closest to that patriotic day over 200 years ago.
Along with celebrating the Norwegian culture and constitution, the parade also had a central theme of honoring our veterans.
Colonel Peter Sicoli from the Fort Hamilton Army Base and Lieutenant Colonel Cecile Konradsen of the Norwegian Air Force served as grand marshals of the parade representing their respective countries. All veterans were welcomed to the parade to be honored.
Some other significant people marching in the parade included Norwegian Consul General of New York, Harriet Berg; Eric Tjornholm Jr.; Kark Aksel Andresen; and Pastor Joel Ashcraft. Additionally, State Senator Marty Golden and City Councilmember Justin Brannan marched in the parade.
The parade went along Third Avenue from 81st Street all the way to the reviewing stand located in Leif Ericson Park at 67th Street and Seventh Avenue.
Norwegian civic groups, organizations and churches along with the mounted police and other local groups marched while onlookers watched with great interest.
Given the fear of possible inclement weather carrying over from Saturday, organizers were concerned about marching conditions.
“With Saturday’s monsoon weather, and the endless rain these past weeks, we expected we would have to march with rubber boats and umbrellas,” Rutuelo said. “But God heard our prayers, and the sun came out, and it was a beautiful day! The turnout was a little lighter, with the expected rain. But with the clouds moving aside and turning to sunshine, the Norwegians descended into Bay Ridge, and we had a wonderful day!
“It was everything we hoped for!” Rutuelo exclaimed.
Fans of the Brooklyn tradition can expect another parade next year as Rutuelo and fellow organizers will soon begin the planning of next year’s Norwegian Day Parade.
“At our next meeting in June, we will start preparing for next year’s parade.”