Syttende Gay celebrates LGBT Scandinavians
 

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posted Friday, May 21, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 21

Syttende Gay celebrates LGBT Scandinavians
by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Syttende Gay
May 17
BalMar Lounge


On Monday, May 17, Seattle's Ballard neighborhood celebrated "Syttende Mai," or Norwegian Constitution Day. Ballard is traditionally thought of as the center of Seattle's Scandinavian community. LGBT members of the Scandinavian community gathered at the BalMar Lounge in Ballard to view one of the largest Syttende Mai parades outside of Norway.

The first Syttende Gay event took place in 2006 as a small event, combining Seattle's Scandinavian LGBT community and the annual celebration of Syttende Mai. According to Eric Witzøe, chief creator of the event, Syttende Gay has grown and evolved into an internationally promoted event with the help of local blogs, international blogs, Out Travel Magazine, and Orbitz Travel.

"BalMar is kind of the closest thing to a Gay venue for Ballard," said Witzøe. BalMar set aside an entire upper floor for the local "ScandiGayvians," with a bird's eye view of the parade.

Witzøe said he created the event and chose Syttende Mai as the date for celebration because "there was no real post-parade party for the Gay crowd, and secondly, it's a day that recognizes freedom."

The event featured a live DJ, DJ JessiE, spinning everything you'd expect to hear at a Gay event along with Scandinavian music. Syttende Gay raised money for local charity Solid Ground, which strives to build a community free from poverty, prejudice, and neglect in which all members stand on solid ground with the skills and confidence to achieve their dreams. An after-party took place at Changes in Wallingford.

Ballard is home to the Nordic Heritage Museum, which celebrates both the community of Ballard and local Scandinavian history.



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