Crowning the Syttende Mai Royalty
Come join us for the crowning of Syttende Mai's event ambassadors in a tradition that spans five decades. Stoughton’s Syttende Mai royalty kick off the three-day event and declare the weekend a statewide celebration.
Those who wear the Syttende Mai crown receive the honor for their commitment to community service and keeping the local Norwegian culture alive. Each year, a couple learns of their nomination in September and must keep it a secret from everyone, even friends and family, for five months. During the Stoughton Norwegian Dancers’ February Norse Afternoon of Fun, the new king and queen receive their crowns and join previous years’ honorees.
Although their reign is symbolic, the annual Syttende Mai King and Queen dress in traditional Norwegian clothing, or bunad, for the entire festival. In addition to opening the festival, the couple attend more than 40 events over the weekend. They are the festival’s icons and serve as cultural ambassadors to visitors. Have questions about the Norwegian cultural demonstrations, colors, music, foods and costumes you see? Ask this year’s king and queen (or one of our many volunteers).
Young people participate in the Syttende Mai royalty tradition, too. Two local third-grade students are selected as the festival’s annual Prince and Princess and are chosen to carry on Norwegian traditions among their peers. They serve as grand marshals of the Saturday Youth Parade, ride in the Sunday Norwegian Parade, and start The Lil’ Run. The pair also attend the opening dinner and make other appearances throughout the Syttende Mai festival.