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Westby Syttende Mai to be celebrated virtually

Westby Syttende Mai to be celebrated virtually

Viking ship

A window decorated with a Viking ship takes center stage in a photo taken by Shelly Gabrielson as part of "Keep it on the Go -- a Virtual Syttende Mai Celebration." During the month of May, all Westby and area residents are invited to decorate for Syttede Mai and submit photos of their creative efforts.

Westby Syttende Mai and History Alive Project, Inc. have joined forces for “Keep it on the Go – A Virtual Syttende Mai Celebration.”

The Westby Syttende Mai Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the 52nd annual Syttende Mai celebration back on March 24, in light of coronavirus and COVID-19 concerns. The annual event highlighting Norwegian heritage was originally scheduled for May 16-17.

The organizations wanted to make sure Syttende Mai was still observed in 2020, but in a different way.

According to a post on the Westby Syttende Mai Facebook page, “We want to make sure that our community will keep the tradition and its observance and show off our Norwegian heritage even with the Safer at Home and social distancing rules not allowing for our normal celebration festivities!”

This month, Westby Syttende Mai and HAP are inviting all Westby and area residents to decorate windows and almost anything else for the Syttende Mai observance. People may decorate their home, porch, door, window, yard, church site, business, fence, kids’ bikes, vehicle, etc. Folks are also encouraged to wear their bunads, have their children or their pets dress up in all things Norse, and bake those special Norwegian pastries. Creativity is encouraged.

Participants can take one or more pictures of their efforts and upload them on the Westby Syttende Mai website, on the Virtual SM Form.

Those who upload photos are welcome to add names, a description of the image or provide other information.

Submissions will be posted in the following locations: the Westby Syttende Mai website; Westby Syttende Mai Facebook pages; and the History Alive Project, Inc. Facebook page.

All of the submitted photos will be forever noted in Syttende Mai history and be a part of the upcoming birthday celebration for the city of Westby. Dave Amundson of HAP will transfer the photos to a DVD.

The DVD will be placed in the “100th Westby as a City Birthday Party” time capsule. The 100th Westby as a City celebration is still scheduled for Aug. 22.

Westby Syttende Mai and HAP said they want this virtual project to be fun for everyone while also observing the rules of Safer at Home and social distancing guidelines, so they advise participants not to make a special trip to purchase supplies to decorate with, and use what’s on hand at home.

The next Syttende Mai celebration is tentatively scheduled for May 15-16, 2021.

Norwegian troll

The Holens have decorated a window for "Keep it on the Go -- a Virtual Syttend Mai Celebration." Photos can be uploaded on the Westby Syttende Mai website. This year's Syttende Mai celebration was canceled because of coronavirus and COVID-19 concerns.

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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