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Bay Ridge’s 50th annual Norwegian Constitution Day Parade will take place Sunday, May 20 at 1:30 pm, and parade organizers expect more than 10,000 people to march before a crowd of over 100,000.

The procession, with the theme "Celebrating Our 50th Parade," steps off on Fifth Avenue at 89th Street and proceeds north along Fifth Avenue to 67th Street, turning right to pass the reviewing stand on the south side of Leif Ericson Park.

"The Norwegian Day Parade is a big event in the community," said publicity director Evald Olson. "It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our Norwegian heritage and get together with friends and family. The parade seems to get bigger every year. People who used to live in Bay Ridge or Brooklyn, but have moved away, come back for the parade and to see old friends and the old neighborhood."

Leading the parade will be the Telemark All Stars band from Norway. A number of other bands, with some members dressed in traditional costumes and performing Norwegian music, will also march in the parade, which will celebrate the 187th anniversary of Norway’s Independence Day. The parade marks the peaceable creation of Norway’s constitutional government in 1814, and is held in Brooklyn as close to May 17, the official day of the signing of the constitution, as possible.

Kari Lynne Oftedahl, 18, of New Jersey, the winner of the Miss Norway contest on April 8, will be officially crowned on the reviewing stand at 3:30 pm during a short program following the parade. Atle Leikvoll, the consul general of Norway, will officiate. Peter Thomassen, of New York City Dock Builders is the guest speaker.

A number of events have been scheduled for the days leading up to the parade, among them a boat ride around Manhattan on the Paddlewheel Queen on Thursday, May 17, from 6:30 pm to 10 pm. Passengers will be treated to traditional Norwegian music provided by the Scandinavian Accordion Club. Tickets are $22 each. For more information call Olson at (718) 745-6653.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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