Petersburg Alaska hosted the 60th annual Syttende Mai in its town this year. In addition to the usual festival events there was a musical addition of Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers. Lots of singing, dancing, drinking, and Norwegian festivities for all were had during the festival week.
Residents and visitors, young and old alike dressed in Norwegian bunader (folk costumes) host as well as partake in the Festival events. Petersburg is transformed for the week in honoring their history and celebrating popular traditions. The rowdy Vikings and Valkyries stir up lighthearted mischief whenever and wherever they can.This annual celebration dates back to May 17th, 1958 when two local women, Bernadine Trones and Alma Wallen chaired the first Little Norway Festival in celebration of our unique Norwegian heritage. Syttende Mai or May 17th, celebrates the signing of Norway’s Constitution in 1814. Petersburg’s Little Norway Festival has grown to span the 3rd weekend of May and celebrates not only Norway’s Constitution, but U.S. Armed Forces Day, the coming of spring and beginning of the fishing season. Great music always plays a large part of the Festival fun and indoor and outdoor dances are scheduled for Friday & Saturday evenings. Art events include; the Annual Mitkof Mummer’s Melodrama written and produced each year by the local theatre group, a variety of artist receptions, and even rosemaling classes.. The heart of downtown is barricaded and booths line the street offering a variety of wares and information. Food, always an important aspect of any festival, ranges from traditional Alaskan Native fare and Petersburg’s world-class seafood to fine Norwegian delicacies. A parade, a walk/run race, a pageant, style shows, many dedications, receptions and open houses fill out the very full Annual Festival Schedule and insure entertainment for everyone.