The third weekend of May, Petersburg celebrates Mayfest, also known as Little Norway. It is the celebration of Syttende Mai - May 17th, Norwegian Independence Day.
This is our BIG festival with food and craft booths downtown, parade, pageant, Fish-O-Rama Seafood Feast, dances, and much more! Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. We have Vikings and Valkyries that roam the streets making sure everyone is having fun. There are norwegian dancers performing at the Sons of Norway Hall and men and women who are proud of their norwegian heritage, dressed in traditional costumes. It is alot of fun!
I got involved in 1997 and participated for 3 years as a Valkyrie. There is tons of amazingly good food in the form of traditional norwegian desserts and many of the booths feature our locally caught fish in tasty dishes. A definate MUST SEE!
I donned my Valkyrie uniform for the first time in nearly three years. It was a little snug, but fun. I also included my two boys. My husband made their costumes and we walked in the parade. So much fun!
The weekend after Mayfest (Memorial Day weekend) there is the annual Salmon Derby. It runs Friday through Monday and you have to buy a ticket and make sure you have a current fishing license and King Salmon stamp. You can buy these at both hotels in town and the hardware stores.
There are skiffs to rent (Scandia House rents very nice boats) or hook up with a local on a real fishing boat. Just before the derby, two king salmon are caught and tagged. If you catch either of them, you win a cash prize. Every year the tagged salmon isn't caught, the money rolls over to the next year. This year (2006) the elusive tagged salmon was worth 10,000 and the other 5,000 dollars if caught during the derby. There are alot of other great prizes to win as well.
It is also, just a great time for the whole family. My husband and I took out our two boys who were so excited to go out on the boat and fish. We caught our bait fish first (herring), which the boys loved jigging for and my husband caught a 32 lb king salmon. I, alas, was skunked this year. Last year, I caught a 19.5 lb king salmon and was hoping to beat my record this year. Maybe next year!
If you are lucky...you'll meet a local fisherman who will want to take you out on a skiff ride to the La Conte Glacier, find some whales or pull up on his crab pots for an evening feast! (BTW...the fisherman in the picture? That's my boyfriend...so of course he had to take me on a skiff ride.)
While you walk around the island you can walk up to the dump and see the brown bears. Then on your way down, at least you used to be able to do this, you can see the
Eagles flying over the Channel and look at the Fijords.
Fedrelandet, Lodge No. 23, of Son's of Norway is located on Sing Lee Alley in Petersburg. Built in 1912, this building is on the National Register of Historic Places. As you can see from this view of the back of the building, it is built on pilings. The buildings sits on Hammer Slough, which makes for lovely photographs. I have a nice picture of the front of the building in the "shopping tips" section.
I know in the summer the Leikarring Dancers dance at the Lodge for visitors more often, I never got to see them dance because I spent time in Petersburg in off-season times.
In May there is a Norwegian Festival each year to commemorate Norway's Independence Day.
I saw this Santa Crossing sign in Petersburg while I was wandering around one March during the St. Patrick's Day parade. Don't remember what street, so looking for it again will be like searching for a needle in a haystack. But I thought it was cute.
Incidentally, I brightened up the colors because my picture didn't turn out that great.
You could spend some time walking around in downtown Petersburg, and visit the shops on Sing Lee Alley. Near there is Pangea Gift Emporium where you can buy stuff from all over the world, Raven's Nest Gallery, Sing Lee Alley Books, and after walking around you can eat some homemade soup and bread at Helse's.
About the most intersting picture I've taken in Petersburg happend while I was waiting for my plane after check in. Go for a little walk. The airport isn't that big, there isn't anything else to do.