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Syttende Mai spirit brightens Westby's Main Street

Syttende Mai spirit brightens Westby's Main Street

Flag-waving family

Members of the Kotek family share their Westby Syttende Mai spirit, Saturday morning. Pictured are (front, from left) Lanie Fremstad, Dan Kotek, Terri Kotek; (back) Brayden Fremstad, Kelly Fremstad, Amy Jankowski and Ryan Jankowski.

Norwegian pride was on display Saturday morning when people wearing their Norwegian apparel and waving Norwegian flags scattered themselves along Main Street in Westby.

About 20 people (including two trolls) participated in an hour-long waving, which fell on the weekend that would have been the 52nd annual Syttende Mai celebration. The annual event highlighting the Westby area’s Norwegian heritage was canceled back on March 24, in light of coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 concerns.

The idea came about when Terri Kotek and her husband, Dan, were talking about their grandchildren and why they couldn’t dress up and do their “own little thing” to celebrate Syttende Mai.

Kotek then contacted Shelly Holen, Syttende Mai president, David Kraabel, Syttende Mai vice president, and Darlene Kraabel, presenting the idea of getting out on Main Street to show Westby Norwegian heritage and Syttende Mai spirit.

“It was agreed to do this,” she said. “I then created a private event on Facebook inviting just a core group of people we thought would take part in their Norwegian apparel.”

Participants didn’t want to make it too big, with concerns of being too crowded, but on Friday Kotek put a shout out on Facebook for people to drive by for a wave.

Kotek said there was a lot of traffic, with waves, honks and smiles for all of the participants. “We thought this was a great success to again, put smiles on faces,” she said.

Norwegian pride

Jana Dregne, wearing a traditional Norwegian bunad, waves a flag in front of Dregne's Scandinavian Gifts, Saturday morning. She was one of about 20 people who scattered themselves along Main Street in Westby to share smiles and pride in the area's Norwegian heritage.

Trolls and friends on Main Street

Trolls Ragnar, Ragnile and baby Gurie, and their human friends display their pride in the Westby area's Norwegian heritage, Saturday morning. Pictured are (from left) David Amundson, Ragnar (Betty Stoleson), Ragnile (Darlene Kraabel) holding baby Gurie, and Dave Kraabel.

Angela Cina can be reached at

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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