More About Syttende Mai Folk Festival
The words “Syttende Mai” are Norwegian for “seventeenth of May,” and we hold the event on the weekend closest to May 17. On that day in 1814, the Norwegian Constitution was signed, giving Norway independence from its 500-year union with Denmark. Stoughton’s Syttende Mai celebration dates back as far as 1868, when Norwegian immigration in this part of Wisconsin was reaching its peak.
Syttende Mai is a very colorful, gala, family-oriented affair with many people wearing authentic Norse costumes or bunads. There are folk dancing performances by the world famous Stoughton Norwegian Dancers, exhibits of Norwegian rosemaling (painting) and hardanger (needlework), Norse Costume show, Norwegian church services, smorgasbord of Norwegian foods and a variety of musical performances.
Syttende Mai also features an arts and crafts fair, quilt show, Village Player performances, canoe race, 20 and 10-mile runs, 17-mile walk, a 2-mile Community Lil’ Run, a strongman competition called Viking Games, a huge Norwegian parade, and local food stands everywhere! A king and queen, and prince and princess are chosen to reign over the festivities. Come join us!