“It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.” -Ernie Harwell.
As we embark on a new adventure with the 50th Syttende Mai Princess and court to be crowned soon, I reflect back on what the 50th year of Westby’s Syttende Mai celebration meant to me. Promoting this wonderful community throughout my reign has been nothing less than extraordinary. First Attendant: Hailey Jubera, Second Attendant: Josie Hofslien, and I have made many memories throughout our year of service. We have had the privilege of attending numerous events, such as festivals, local competitions and pageants, parades, and several volunteer opportunities. We represented our town and spoke about our festival and everyone we met was invited to share in our excitement about the celebration of half a century of Norwegian heritage. Being the 50th Syttende Mai, the organization hosted a royalty reunion where Hailey, Josie and I met many of the past princesses and attendants. I was able to connect with everyone I talked to and learn about the positive ways that this organization had impacted all of these successful women. It is important to know that this honor is more than just a sash and a crown. The three of us were able to show just how proud we are of our town and our history as we worked to fulfill our duties.
We could easily write a book about all of our adventures together. The pages would be filled with so many memories, lives that we touched and people that made an impact on us. If I were to write a chapter about our most memorable moment together it would be one continuous story that started at the moment we were crowned in the new Westby Area Performing Arts Center and take us through laughter, photographs, fun and even tears. With the 50th year being such a historical event, I feel that the memories that made the most impact were the ones that involved us being fully immersed into our heritage such as when we traveled to Decorah’s Nordic Fest. Decorah is very similar to Westby and we submerged ourselves into the festivities, and shared in the stories about our history. Other historical lessons came from our time spent visiting the History Alive Project and volunteering at Norskedalen where we became familiar with our cultural customs of food, music, dance and even met some beautiful Norwegian Fjord horses.
Hailey, Josie and I would also like to take this time to thank the Syttende Mai board of directors and our royalty advisors, Angie Hornby, David Kraabel and Darlene Kraabel. Their support and guidance has been paramount to a successful year. Thank you also to our sponsors: Westby Coop Creamery, Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts and Nisse House of Art; we were honored to represent your businesses this year. To our families; few understand the sacrifice that accompanies the hard work and dedication that it takes as we all came together to create the memories of the year through the various events. Without you it would not have been possible. Finally, to our community, thank you! Thank you for the support, the sincerity and helping us create memories to last a lifetime.
Katelyn Dunnum, 2018 Syttende Mai Princess
Hailey Jubera, First Attendant, and Josie Hosflien, Second Attendant