Family First: Syttende Mai Festival

By: Sarah Carlson
By: Sarah Carlson

This is a big weekend for Stoughton the annual Syttende Mai festival, celebrating Norwegian Independence Day. And the celebration here is second only to Oslo, Norway's bringing 100,000 people to the small Wisconsin town.

A huge part of the celebration involves dancers who've helped keep the tradition going for more than 50 years!

" When they go out, they make everybody else's day better. When the leave they have a bigger smile on their face and they really do give enjoyment to the people they see. "

Polly Goepfert has been the director of Stoughton Norwegian Dancers for the past 10 years. But she credits the woman in charge before her, who took her direction *straight* from the source.

"The lady that did this before, she did it for 46 years. She actually went to Norway for 7 weeks, took her little instamatic camera and then she took pictures of dancers over there so the dances are all authentic dances. "

And it's a major commitment to the 23 Stoughton High School students involved. They practice before school every morning and perform all year long.

Of course Syttende Mai includes a *ton* of family-friendly fun this weekend. There is a quilt show, art fair, run/walk, and food of course.

Starts Friday night with a canoe race and lasts all the way until Sunday afternoon with a final performance by Stoughton Norwegian Dancers at 3:45. There are links to both the celebration and the dance troupe on our web channel, NBC 15.com


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