The Sons of Norway lodge in Thief River Falls is planning several activities to celebrate Syttende Mai (May 17), Norway’s Constitution Day.
Some of the lodge members will be sharing stories about their Scandinavian heritage on Pioneer 90.1 FM radio shows. The 15-minute episodes are planned for 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Thursday, May 13 through May 21.
Sunday, May 16, has been declared “Leonard Furuseth Day.” Festivities, which begin at 2 p.m. at Floyd B. Olson Park, include a book-launching, by local author Gretchen Beito; live music; a children’s parade; and coffee and cookies. Children will be parading with Norwegian flags and will be treated to ice cream, said Jan Strandlie, event organizer.
All are encouraged to wear traditional Scandinavian attire, she said.
A drive-thru dinner, for $12, may be picked up between noon and 1 p.m. Sunday, May 16, in the cul-de-sac behind the Eagles club. The meal includes meatballs and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade bun, a homemade bar for dessert, lefse and fruit soup. Orders must be placed by Friday, May 14, by calling Dave at 218-686-0733 or Tiffany at 218-689-0748.
In case of rain, the event will be moved to Zion Lutheran Church.
Beito’s book, written with Mildred Furuseth, widow of Leonard Furuseth, is titled “Furuseth and the 99th Infantry Battalion.” It recounts his involvement as a member of the 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate), a military unit of 1,001 soldiers who fought in World War II, Strandlie said.
The soldiers were selected for the battalion because they could speak, write and read fluent Norwegian, considered valuable assets after Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, she said. The battalion also fought in the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, important Allied Forces’ victories over Germany.