Oh Mai, What a Day

local Norwegians plan holiday celebration with noted author

Caitlin Boyle |

Spring is finally here! The snow has melted, the grass is green, and Chippewa Valley residents with Norwegian roots are gearing up for the annual Syttende Mai celebration. Syttende Mai (pronounced “Suh den duh My”) is held every year on May 17 to commemorate Norway’s Constitution Day: May 17, 1814. It’s a day that is important historically and politically, and celebrations are held across Norway. Closer to home, the organizations Norden Folk, Sons of Norway, and the Waldemar Ager Association have teamed up for the past 15 years to bring the celebration of all things Norwegian to Eau Claire. Doug Pearson, who is part of putting the celebration together, says anyone who has Norwegian roots or simply want to learn more about the country is welcome to attend. “Syttende Mai is celebrated by Norwegians in Norway of course, but it is also celebrated the world over by Norwegians wherever they are,” Pearson said. The celebration will be Friday, May 17, at the Holiday Inn South in Eau Claire. It starts at 5:30pm and will include a Norwegian-themed meal with cod, meatballs, potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables, and – of course – lefse. Dessert will follow with home-baked cookies. A silent auction with items such as Norwegian crafts and art will be up for grabs. Author and musician Michael Perry will present “Part-Time Norwegian” for those who attend. Pearson says having Perry as part of the celebration will be extra special because of his Norwegian background. The celebration will kick off at 5pm with a social hour and silent auction, followed by dinner shortly after 6pm. Attendees should stick around for Perry’s presentation later in the evening. Syttende Mai tickets are available at Festival Foods in Eau Claire and at agerhouse.org. Adults are $25, and youth are $10.