Syttende Mai parade

Gary Skundberg, Carol Lozon and Mary Dalbotten lead a Kenyon Library Story Time group on a Syttende Mai parade in 2018. A kiddie parade takes place this year in Wanamingo. Participants are encouraged to dress up in red, white and blue. (File photo/

The city of Wanamingo celebrates its Norwegian roots once a year on Syttende Mai.

In Norway, Syttende Mai (which means the 17th of May in Norwegian) is an official public holiday. Wanamingo is celebrating a few days early this year on Saturday, May 14.

While the events often change from year to year, the dedication to honoring the heritage and gathering of community members remains constant.

New to the slate of festivities is a vendor show featuring crafters and home-based businesses and garage sales, and a kiddie parade on Main Street.

With the absence of the car show this year, Beth Smith, a five-year resident of Wanamingo and two-year member of the Wanamingo Commercial Club, said organizers discussed ways of getting the community more involved in the celebration.

Smith said she brought up old memories of pet parades and bike parades, and shared how much fun they were to fellow Commercial Club members.

She asked if her employer, Wanamingo Mutual, would be interested in sponsoring a kiddie parade. Smith said this would allow children to participate by themselves, with bikes or walking their pets down Main Street.

In hopes to garner more participation, Smith added an opportunity for participants to be entered into a free drawing. Winners receive their choice to a local business gift card. First place receives a $50 gift card, with second and third places getting $25. The color theme for the kiddie parade, is red, white and blue, which are the colors of the Norwegian flag.

Those interested in participating in the 11 a.m. parade are encouraged to register beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Wanamingo Mutual Insurance.

If there is enough participation, Smith said organizers plan on continuing the new tradition in future celebrations.

Resident Pattie Priggie has been busy working on the vendor show, also referred to as the Syttende Mai Showcase, hosted by 14 other local individuals. The showcase begins at 9 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m.

Local crafters and direct sellers are: Ability Art by Emily, April’s Crafts, Bruce’s Woodshop, Craftyang, Color Street, Craft and Wine Emporium, Gently Used Boutique Women’s Clothing, Gifts by Lee, Author Jon Syverson, Julie Huneke & Mary Kay, Like Mother/Like Daughter, LillaRose Hair Clips and Hair Accessories, Melissa’s Park Lane, Norwex, Pampered Chef, Pink Zebra, Ponderosa Sweets and Treats, Recycled and Redesigned Arts, Rosemaling, Rustic Roost, Scentsy, Terry’s Tastefully Simple, Terry’s Cards and More, Timm Woodworking, Tupperware, Wanadrizzle, and Wheat Packs by Bonnie.

The Lion Club’s pancake breakfast and Norwegian meal from JB’s are returning Syttende Mai traditions. The breakfast takes place at the Wanamingo Community Center from 7-9:30 a.m. and Norwegian meal is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As for the other traditional piece of the puzzle, the city-wide garage sales, Smith reported things are going well so far, but more sellers would be appreciated. A list of participating garage sales can be picked up from Security State Bank or Area 57 Thursday evening.

“We know the community loves this and plan to continue this as well,” Smith said of the popular garage sale weekend.

Of all the different activities taking place, Smith said she is most looking forward to the kiddie parade.

“I really am hoping to have a large turnout for the children to have the same fun memories that I had when I was younger,” Smith said. “I also am really looking forward to the vendor sale to see what was created by Pattie.”

{span}Reach reporter Michelle Vlasak at 507-333-3128. ©Copyright 2022 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.{/span}

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