The 38th Annual MayDay Parade

May 4th, 2012

UPDATE: The 38th Annual MayDay Parade has been rescheduled for May 13th, 2012 due to weather.

This Sunday, the 38th Annual MayDay Parade will march and dance down Bloomington Avenue in South Minneapolis. The costumed and glittered participants will assemble at noon on 25th Street between Cedar and Bloomington, and the parade will officially kick off at 1p. The parade ends at Powderhorn Park, where the ceremony and festival is set to start at 3p. Tens of thousands of people attend the MayDay Parade each year, young and old. The excitement of the festival creates a warm sense of community even if you've never met the person to your left or your right. As the organizers put it, "the city feels intimate, overflowing with goodwill and spring fever."


The story of this year's parade is The End of the World as We Know It, which doesn't sound too joyful, but after reading the description, I see it is timely. Its a powerful story of gluttony, greed and how we can overcome our faults to create a better world and mend its wounds. At its heart, the festival is a celebration of life, celebrating the return of spring and the place we live. Though exuberantly joyful and goofy, the theme usually has a political undertone, pushing people to be selfless and to do more for others. The planners seek to tell a story that matters to the community, so in essence, as they appropriately put it, the history of the parade is a "particularly imaginative history of the times."

From the organization's website:

The End of the World as We Know It

Scene 1: Consider This

Wounded EarthStaff Artists: Cece Bellamy, Willow Cordes-Eklund,

Bill Osbrisch, Emily May Taylor

We are entangled in a vast network of manufacturing and consumption that provides convenience at the cost of depleting our limited fossil fuels resources.

A long Pipeline and shrouded figures using modern technologies symbolize our dependence on these resources.

Energy Gremlins make sure everyone stays plugged in, as the Wounded Earth suffers.

Cranes dance behind, mourning and absorbing the grief of the Wounded Earth.

Scene 2: Break the Spell

Gustavo Boada, Bart Buch, Munir Kahar, Tina Nemetz

Earth HeartBreak the spell that divides us from each other. As humans, we live very separate, isolated lives.

Whirling Deer Hearts urge us to awaken and open our hearts, while keeping rooted to the earth.

Deer Spirits urge us to love and give unconditionally. Sacred Spirit Shirts honor those who have passed from this earth. Earth's Heart sleeps, worn down by the drudge or our daily life.

The Goddess of Compassion reminds us that genuine compassion is the source of change– let your heart open to embrace change.

Scene 3: Make Do

Angie Courchaine, Madeline Helling, Soozin Hirschmugl, Lindsay McCaw, Dee Henry Williams

Social DanceA celebration of the work being done to change our communities. Change requires a combination of old and new ideas, and reaching out to neighbors.

Sweepers reclaim the streets, clearing out the old ways so new ones can enter.

Beavers with tools are resourceful and Sloths on Bicycles remind us to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.

Human Libraries honor the wisdom of our elders and the knowledge held in our communities.

The Town Square and Maypoles offer a place for dancing and meeting our neighbors. Clotheslines remind us of ways to cut down on energy use.

The Amen Corner encourages people to speak their minds and share their ideas.

Scene 4: Surround of Light

Kevin Long, Blake Love, Monica Rojas, Mark Safford

dragonWe are surrounded by light, which embraces us all as we journey around the sun through the seasons.

The Four Horses from the four directions – North, South, East and West – gather to await the message from The Forest.

The 38 trees of The Forest commemorate the 150th anniversary of the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, MN.

The Sun calls for us to move and grow and seed arks symbolize the new beginnings, while Vegetable Beds and Compost Toilets remind us how we are a part of a larger cycle of life.

Zumba Bees energize and celebrate the changes occurring.

Ouroboros symbolize the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth and Cation Dragons bring auspicious energy to these new beginnings.



The dazzling, energetic parade of puppeteers, dancers and music is followed by the annual ceremony, in which the sun is brought across the lake to the tree of life. The festival afterward features a number of stages with performances of theater, dance and music. Merchandise and food stands will be abound to keep your body and spirit fueled. The celebrations go until dusk, when I predict a number of other festivities will pick up. This truly is a unique cultural event of Minneapolis to be celebrated. 

12p –  Parade Assembly
1p –  Parade Kick-off
3p –  Ceremony
4p – dusk –  Festival
Map & Festival Schedule

Caroline Engel for Danish Teak Classics

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