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Bay Ridge gears up for 67th annual Norwegian Day Parade

A historic Bay Ridge parade continues to march on.

The 67th annual Norwegian Constitution Parade, which commemorates the signing of the Norwegian constitution on May 17, 1893, celebrates the culture and its contributions on this side of the Atlantic. It’s always held on the Sunday closest to the date the document was signed — May 19, this year — with marchers taking to Third Avenue to strut their stuff.

“We are all geared up and ready to go,” said Norwegian Day Parade Chair Arlene Rutuelo. “[Former] Senator Marty Golden will be our grand marshal for all his years of support for the Norwegian community as well as the Bay Ridge community at large.”

As it does every year, this year’s iteration has a special theme — Continuing the Legacy.

“It’s going to be interesting to see the floats,” Rutuelo said. “A lot of our groups make their own and to see some of the originality will be fun. We’ve increased some of the bands, which we are excited about. We have a lot of civic non-Norwegian participation this year celebrating with us so we are growing the parade.”

The significance of the event isn’t lost on Rutuelo.

“I know we are in America and some people say, ‘What’s the use? Why do you bother having a parade?’” she said. “But we’ve worked really hard in the last few years to educate the surrounding communities about some of the unique things Norwegians have done for New York City, the state and the United States as a whole. We invite everyone to celebrate with us, as we celebrate with other cultures.

“It’s important, particularly for the younger generations,” Rutuelo added, stressing that it isn’t important whether the neighborhood is still the Scandinavian outpost it was in years past. “It doesn’t matter if we live here or not. We have a weekend that we celebrate and it becomes a destination. People spend money in our community and that’s good for the economy of the neighborhood. I heard that a person is coming from Indiana to our parade this year. They make it a weekend of visiting New York and come into the only New York City Norwegian Day parade.”

Rutuelo is hoping the weather cooperates. But, she added, “It doesn’t matter. We’re Vikings. We’ll march in the snow if we have to. We welcome everyone to come and be a Norwegian and Viking for a day.”

Marchers will line up on Third Avenue, between 83rd and 84th streets, and head down to Leif Ericson Park, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, where the reviewing stand will be located. The parade will kick off at 1:30 p.m.

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