The fire was quickly extinguished – and now the boys are back on track

The fire was quickly extinguished – and now the boys are back on track

For the residents of Ålesund, it wouldn't be a perfect Midsummer without Slinningspallet.

Behind a giant tower with stands, stands a group of volunteer boys between the ages of 10 and 20.

This year they had an extra challenge when after ten days of hard work a fire accidentally went up in smoke.

– went surprisingly well. It just shows the commitment of everyone here,” says fire manager Victor Sunde.

Viktor Sunde 2024 is one of the fire chiefs of Slinningspalat in Ålesund.  The image shows Victor standing directly in front of a 32 meter high fire.

Victor Sunde is one of the fiery leaders of this year's Slinningsball.

Photo: Mia Sophie Itreberg / NRK

Burn fast

The fire started in Slinningsöden outside Ålesund, 44 days ahead of schedule. The fire, which was already six meters high, was extinguished.

Reconstruction of Slinningsbålet

It was like this the morning after the Slinningspallet accidentally burned.

Photo: Øyvind Sandnes / NRK

The fire department officer took it seriously.

– My first thought was whether everyone is safe. Then came the shock and I almost panicked. Victor Sunde says his whole body started shaking.

The gang has to start over. With only a short time until Midsummer.

The picture shows the Slinningsbålet, ready for Sankthans 2024 immediately.  The boys pray back and forth.

Mia Sophie Itreberg / NRK

A burning fire

Slinningsbålet is built by volunteer youth, and is lit on the Saturday before Sangthans.

Slinningsbålet 2017

Øyvind Berge Sæbjørnsen

Famous fire

People come from far and wide to witness the fire. Every year the fjord is full of boats.

Slingingball took the world record by nearly 50 meters in 2016.

Roar Halton

World record

In 2016, Slinningsbålet gained international attention when it was recognized as the tallest bonfire in the world, almost 50 meters.

Kudar stands up on the slinningspallet and passes old wooden fishing boxes between them.

Mia Sophie Itreberg / NRK

Built by hand

The world record will no longer stand. But Slinningsbålet is even more special because it is built by hand without a crane.

– Very material

But the city rallied quickly.

Within a short time, NOK 110,000 and thousands of planks were collected so that the young people could build the biggest midsummer bonfire in Norway.

Picture shows fire manager Viktor Sunde in front of Slinningspalat in Ålesund.  Victor wears a black hooded jacket and hat and smiles slightly warily at the camera.

– We received more than a thousand plates in the first two days alone. We really appreciated it. It means so much, all the support we get.

Victor Sunde

Fire chief

Now the fire is up to 32 meters, and the gang is well on its way to Saturday. This year's design is also slightly different from the past.

– There are old fish boxes in this fire. The fire manager says they are trying to create a retro fire from the 80s.

He helped design this year's bonfire, among other things, by looking at old pictures of Slinningspalette.

– Like a leisure club

Every year on the Saturday closest to Midsummer, children and young people gather to build bonfires.

Everyone from 10 years old to 20 years old helps build the fire.

– I started when I was 8 years old, but I have been here mostly this year, says Bjarte Skar Nilsen, who is now 13 years old.

He thinks it's great to hang out with the other boys while they build the fire.

– You make a lot of new friends, it's like a leisure club, he says.

Slinningspallet in Ålesund burned down very early in 2024.

This is the last photo taken before the fire on May 8. 2,000 plates caught fire.

Photo: Bålgängen

This year they have a generational change among bonfire builders. Some dropped out, some new ones arrived. According to camp manager Viktor Sunde, they have room for many more.

– All you have to do is show up and you'll help create.



21.06.2024, at 09.08

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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