Join in the Fun at the Westby Syttende Mai!

When your town’s Norwegian roots are as deep as they are here, you have no choice but to join in the fun at Westby Syttende Mai! This annual celebration of Norway’s establishment as a country brings is the most exciting and festive event in our town, full of games, traditional Norwegian food, music, and much more. We’d love for you to join us in celebrating Syttende Mai, and after reading this blog, you won’t want to miss out!


Westby Syttende Mai (translated “seventeenth May”) is as three-day long festival that takes place across the town, and the 48th annual celebration will be held on May 13-15, 2016. Norwegian heritage is celebrated in the most fun way possible, with a list of events and activities that everyone will enjoy!


According to the festival’s website, the Westby Syttende Mai was first celebrated in 1969, and since then, the celebration has continued to grow every year. Attendees often wear traditional Norwegian garb, and everywhere you look, you’ll see Norwegian flags. As listed on the festival’s official website, the festivities begin on Friday morning with breakfast at Borgen’s Cafe, and music from the Norskedahlen Trio. Friday’s events continue throughout the day, including a cookout, an Old-Time Music Show and more!


The festival really kicks off on Saturday though, with a schedule that runs from early morning until late at night. “Frokost” (Norwegian for “breakfast”) will be served at the United Methodist Church at 7 a.m., followed soon after by the Syttende Mai Half Marathon and 5K Walk/Run! There’s also a bicycle tour with 30K, 60K, and 100K options. But don’t feel the need to work up a sweat – you can let your breakfast sink in and enjoy the rest of the day’s events, like the Arts, Crafts and Vintage Commercial Tents that are open both Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you head to the Bekkum Library, you can see live models fashioning traditional Norwegian garb (“Bunad”). Other morning events in the Syttende Mai Kiddie Parade, the Big Cup Golf Tournament at the Snowflake Ski Club and Golf Tournament, and the Syttende Mai Car and Bike Show. View a full list of Saturday events here.


The fun at Westby Syttende Mai continues on into the afternoon and evening! Test your food consumption limits at the Rommegrot eating contest, where contestants will take on the challenge of downing as much of the traditional Norwegian porridge as they can handle. One of the festival’s main highlights is the tractor pulling contest, starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. According to the festival’s website, the event will feature six different pulling classes, and registration costs $20. Keep the fun going and go to Nordic Lanes for late night karaoke!


The festival comes to a close on Sunday, but not before the Big Syttende Mai Parade happens at 1:30 p.m.! Other events include dinner served at both Our’s Savior’s Lutheran Church and Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran Church, the Kids Bike Race, and more. Click here for more information on Sunday’s events.


The Westby Syttende Mai is family-friendly and a must-see if you’re in the area. Plus, you don’t even have to be of Norwegian descent to enjoy it! Join us here in Westby for a unique celebration of heritage and history. Let the Westby House Inn and Restaurant house you while you’re here – we’re one of the festival’s sponsors! And while you’re checking out our accommodations, make sure you download our free Vacation Guide to get the most out of your stay with us.