Special Events

Special Events

Syttende Mai Norwegian Constitution Day
– May 17
Market Street in Ballard
On this day in 1814, Norway’s Constitution was signed, and the anniversary is celebrated in towns throughout Norway with parades and other festivities. In Seattle, the day has been celebrated since 1889 with proclamations, speeches, and a parade. Ballard’s celebration includes one of the largest parades outside of Norway and is a joyful and historic community celebration.

Midsummer Festivals – late June
Outdoor Midsommarfest events celebrate the summer solstice at several locations in the Puget Sound region.

The Skandia Folkdance Society Midsommarfest at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore features traditional music and dancing, the raising of a garlanded Midsommar pole, a crafts market, and specialty foods. This organization also sponsors classes and performances throughout the year.

Vasa Park Resort on Lake Sammamish also sponsors a Midsummer Festival each year, with traditional foods, family activities and a song and dance program. Named for Swedish King Gustav Vasa, this private park includes an old-fashioned dance hall, dating from an era when family resorts once dotted the lakes surrounding Seattle. 3560 West Lake Sammamish Parkway SE, Bellevue.

Viking Days – mid-July
Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard
This annual weekend celebration features traditional foods, folk music and dancing, craft vendors, demonstrations and activities, and Viking re-enactments. The Nordic Heritage Museum sponsors other events throughout the year, including a traditional Yulefest in November.

Leif Erikson Day - October 9
Sons of Norway Lodge in Ballard
While Norse sagas do not record Erikson’s birthday, the hero of Scandinavian immigrants is commemorated in the U.S. on the anniversary of the first landing of a Norwegian immigrant ship, the Restauration, in 1825 in New York. The Leif Erikson International Foundation sponsors an annual celebration at Ballard’s Sons of Norway Leif Erikson Lodge.

Saint Lucia’s Day – December 13
Various locations
One of the few saint’s days traditionally observed in Sweden, the Feast of Saint Lucia features a procession led by a young woman wearing a crown of candles. Saint Lucia’s Day has transitioned to a largely secular celebration, and processions are held each year at various Seattle locations including Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Ballard, and the Swedish Cultural Center near Lake Union.

Did You Know?

One of the city’s best-known arts events is the Seattle Opera’s production every four years of the Ring Cycle, which was written by German composer Richard Wagner, but was inspired in part by Norse mythology.

Seattle Opera production of Die Walküre, photo ©Chris Bennion

brochure pdf

Nordic Heritage Guide
Download the guide here.