The city of Westby is gearing up to celebrate its Norwegian heritage at the 51st annual Syttende Mai, May 18-19.

Pre-festival events include a pancake supper at the VFW hall, 205 N. Main St., Thursday, May 16, from 6- 8 p.m. This is a fundraiser benefiting the Westby Syttende Mai and Snowflake royalties.

The Syttende Mai Kickoff Breakfast will be held at Norske Grill, 411 N. Main St., Friday, May 17, from 7-10 a.m. Music will be performed by Tor Eness and Friends.

Ongoing events

Ongoing events include arts, craft and commercial tents Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The crafters tent will be located in the City Hall parking lot. The commercial vendor tent will be located in the New Directions Real Estate parking lot. Outdoor vendors will be along First Street.

Join the annual troll hunt sponsored by the Connelly Law Office, 210 S. Main St. Clues will be posted Friday, May 17, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 at noon. Hunt for three trolls. Each troll will have its own set of clues and its own cash prize for finding it. Trolls must be returned to the information book to claim the cash reward.

To commemorate the 50th Westby Syttende Mai Royalty, five medallions will be hidden in the city of Westby the week leading up to Syttende Mai. No clues will be posted. It is sheer luck to find one. Register the found medallion at the information booth in front of the Connelly Law Office during its open hours and claim a $10 cash prize. The finder keeps the medallion. No reward cash prize will be given after 4 p.m. May 19.

Syttende Mai button and raffle tickets are available at area businesses, the information booth and from board members. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold at $5 each and offer an opportunity to win $500, $200, $100 or $75. The raffle ticket includes the Syttende Mai button. The cash raffle drawing takes place at the information booth, Sunday, May 19, at 4 p.m.

Folk art traditions

The Coulee Region Rosemalers Annual Show and Sale will be held in the Westby Community Center (lower level of Bekkum Memorial Library) Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A traditional Norwegian lunch and pastries will be served.

The Coulee Region Rosemalers Annual Heritage Center, located at the VFW, 205 N. Main St., will be open Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Knitting demonstration

Lynn Rundhaugen of Gaithersburg, Massachusetts, demonstrates knitting in the Westby Syttende Mai Heritage Center in 2018. The Heritage Center is set up in the VFW hall.


Food vendors will be located downtown next to Subway, behind Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Dr. Mary Gajewski’s dental office, Friday-Sunday,

The Lefsepolsa House will be set up at the corner of Main and West State streets, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Norwegian baking demonstrations will be held at the Heritage Center (VFW) Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local bakers will be preparing traditional Norwegian foods such as lefse, rosettes, krumkake and other edibles.

Rømmegrøt will be served in the lower level of Bekkum Memorial Library, Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and behind Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Saturday, May 18, from noon to 4 p.m. Sales of the Norwegian cream porridge support Westby Syttende Mai and Our Savior’s Youth Group.

Indoor seated meal venues include the following:

  • Old-Time Music Show, Friday, May 17, starting at 1 p.m. in the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church basement with lunch and Norwegian treats.
  • Chicken-que, raffle and silent auction, Friday, May 17, from 4-7:30 p.m. at the Westby Elementary School. Carry-outs are available. This is sponsored by I.M.P.A.C.T.
  • Frokost (breakfast), Saturday, May 18, from 7-10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, 202 E. State St. The Sons of Norway serve this authentic Norwegian breakfast.

Church dinners will be served Sunday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran Church. Meatballs with all the trimmings are on the menu.

Other attractions

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The Elaine Lund Kiddie Parade steps off Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. The parade starts at the corner of Melby and Main streets and proceeds south on Main Street and east on Second Street. Line up and judging take place in the Bland Clinic parking lot at 9:30 a.m.

Judge's Choice

The 2018 judge's choice award in the kiddie parade during Syttende Mai went to "Norwegians in Training" Hannah Hanson and Ari Trott.

The kiddie tractor pull takes place on Market Street behind Our Savior’s Church, Saturday, May 18, starting at 12:30 p.m. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. A button is required for one adult for a child to participate.

The rømmegrøt eating contest takes place in the Norske Music Tent on Market Street behind Subway, Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m. The age groups are 10 and under, 11-18 and adults. Entry fee is a Syttende Mai button.

The Syttende Mai Collectors Button and Princess Doll Auction will be held Friday, May 17, starting at 7 p.m. during the high school choral concert.

The antique tractor pull will be held in the industrial park off Swiggum Road, Saturday, May 18, with registration at noon and a 1 p.m. start. Food tent sales at the event help support the Westby Syttende Mai festival.

The Syttende Mai parade is Sunday, May 19, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Thoreson House Museum and Genealogy Center, 111 Bekkedal Ave., will be open for tours Saturday, May 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Genealogy center help is available by appointment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, email Donations appreciated. These events are sponsored by the Westby Area Historical Society.

Bluff County Region Storytellers will spin their magical tales about Nordic lore at Bekkum Memorial Library, Saturday, May 18th from 1-4 p.m.

The Sons of Norway-Wergeland Dancers perform in the Norske Music Tent on Market Street (behind Subway), Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m.

James the Magician will give shows in the Norske Music Tent on Market Street (behind Subway) Saturday, May 18, at 1 and 3 p.m. James the Magician is a comedic magician and performs an interactive show.

Sporting events

A bicycle tour with 30, 60 and 100K routes is Saturday, May 18. Registration is 7:30 a.m. at Westby Area High School. Tour starts between 8 and 9 a.m. Pre-registration is $20 before the day of the tour, or $30 day of the tour. Kids under 12 only $2. Visit for more information.

The kid’s bike race is Sunday, May 19. Registration is from 9-9:45 a.m., with races starting at 10 a.m. The races are located at the corner of Washington Street and Sunset Boulevard. Age groups include 5-6, 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12. Cash prizes for each age group. Participants will need one Syttende Mai button per family for entry.

Game day faces

Participants in the 9- to 10-year-old category of the Syttende Mai Youth Bike Race get ready to compete in 2018.

The VMH Run/Walk starts at Westby Elementary School, 122 Nelson St., Friday, May 17, at 5 p.m. Registration is at 4 p.m. The course will go around the cross country course. The cost is $5 for adults and $1 for students. The race is 3.1 miles or the shortcut race is 1 mile. The run/walk is not timed. Proceeds will go to the Westby schools’ Happy Hearts Program.


The Westby High School choral concert will be held in the Westby Area Performing Arts Center, Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

The Norske Music State and Beer Garden headliners, The Couleegans, will perform Saturday, May 18, from 7-11 p.m. Coon Valley’s classic rock and modern rock country band was formed in the summer of 2015 in Timber Coulee. A Syttende Mai button purchase is required to enter the music tent and beer garden. Proceeds go toward support of this year’s performing artists and the music venue.

Squeezebox and Molli B take center stage at the Westby Area Performing Arts Center, Saturday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Squeezebox featuring Ted Lange and Mollie B has become one of the most popular and well-known bands specializing in live dance music and entertaining stage shows. Currently based in northwest Ohio, their performances include multiple genres of music, including polkas, waltzes, fox-trots, two-steps, big band, swing, square dances and figure dances. Concert proceeds to benefit the Westby Music Department.

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Angela Cina can be reached at


Vernon County Broadcaster editor

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

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