On Monday, Steven, Peter, and I headed to Ballard to take part in the festivities, enjoy the parade, and mingle with our Northwest neighbors in celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day. Upon our arrival at Market Street it was clear that the parade would be nothing short of spectacular as hundreds of people carrying Norwegian flags filled the streets with anticipation. The three of us watched anxiously as over 100 units organized themselves and lined up to begin the procession.
During the pre-parade excitement, we had the pleasure of speaking with the Mesler family. They let us in on a little secret: the parade in Ballard is actually the third largest Norwegian parade in the entire world! The Meslers also told us a little bit about their traditional Norwegian garments, which were over forty years old and made entirely of wool.
'These dresses are very beautiful, but they can get pretty hot, especially on an afternoon like today when the sun is this bright,' stated Angela Mesler, the current Bothell Lodge Norwegian Princess.
The Meslers couldn't have had more fun despite enduring the heat in their traditional Norwegian clothing.
Before the parade began, we also got the chance to speak with a few students from the University of Washington who are active Norwegian Club members. They explained that they are all enrolled in Norwegian language classes and plan to study abroad in Oslo, Norway this summer. The parade definitely gave them a peek into Norwegian culture. Everywhere you looked there were red and blue flags proudly being waved, the smell of fine fish cuisine permeated the air, and the beautiful Norwegian language could be heard throughout the Ballard streets.
U.W. Norwegian Club members soak in as much culture as they can before embarking to Norway for six weeks this summer.
Steven made some new friends as he shared authentic Norwegian food.
For most, this parade was a time to celebrate heritage and ancestry or to be with friends and fellow club members; however for us, it was an educational glimpse into an amazing culture and I know I speak for all three of us when I say that Norway has definitely been added to my 'places I want to visit' list!
As always, we hope to visit with many more of you as we continue our road-trip across the Northwest.