The spring of 1975 was our first MayDay Festival. Our original impetus for this Festival was quite simple. We wanted to give a gift to the community that was supporting our theatre, and to create a celebration that would bring people together out of their homes at the end of winter.
The Vietnam War ended just 2 weeks before the event and our little procession was exuberantly joyful. We were a group of 50 or 60 people, an Earth puppet, a Water puppet, several birds, two accordions, and many banners. When we got to the park, we raised a Maypole puppet and hosted a few small performances and some MayDay speeches.
Nowadays, the organizing work of the festival is a year-round task. Each February we host a public brainstorming session, when we invite all to share ideas and images towards developing the specific theme for the year. The thoughtful themes of the past years echo the pulse of our south Minneapolis neighborhoods, and as such, the chronology of themes tells a peculiarly imaginative history of the times.