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Annual Norwegian Day Parade draws one of its biggest crowds

Continuing the legacy.

The sun shone as thousands of attendees filled Third Avenue in Bay Ridge for the 67th annual Norwegian Constitution Day Parade, which commemorates the signing of the Norwegian constitution on May 17, 1893.

The annual event, held this year on May 19, brought out a flotilla of festive floats, marchers in traditional outfits and bands aplenty. Participants lined up on Third Avenue, between 83rd and 84th streets, and headed down to Leif Ericson Park, where closing ceremonies took place.

Norwegian Parade Chair Arlene Rutuelo told this paper that everything went smoothly.

“It was very successful. It was a really good feeling in the sense of it being a community event,” she said. “The weather held up. We would’ve marched in the rain or snow but we were really blessed by the day we had.”

Both the crowd and the number of civic groups that took part in the parade increased, according to Rutuelo.

“Last year, we had 11 civic groups,” she said. “We doubled the number this year and a lot of them were community groups and nonprofits that haven’t participated before. It was really a feel-good event and there were at least a few extra thousand people on the streets.”

Rutuelo noted that having former State Sen. Marty Golden serve as the parade’s grand marshal added excitement to the day.

“Golden was cheered along the route and well-received by the community as a whole and the Norwegian community,” she said. “That was really exciting to hear and see. I was thankful he was with us the entire day as was Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis.”

The floats were particularly popular, Rutuelo added.

“The Gjoa Sporting Club [which is over 100 years old] had a beautiful float, which was handmade,” she said. “We encouraged the groups that marched to be creative and to design their own floats around this year’s theme which was the Norwegian Legacy Continues. The creativity was amazing.”

This year’s parade, Rutuelo went on, was one of the most successful in its long history.

“I’ve been involved with the Norwegian Day Parade for almost 30 years and there have been ebbs and flows and a couple of years where we had lower attendance,” Rutuelo said. “This year was an outstanding year and it’s going to be hard to top it next year, but we are going to continue to brainstorm and pull more of the community in.”

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