The 36th annual MayDay Parade and Festival is this Sunday, May 2. This fantastical celebration is put on each year by In the Heart of the Beast Theatre, which brings their larger-than-life puppets and props to add a surreal element to the festivities.
The Festival is held in Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis. The Parade starts at 1pm at the intersection of 26th Street and Bloomington Ave in South Minneapolis. The Parade route ends at Powderhorn Park. You can find a map of the Parade route on the Theatre's website.
This is not your typical parade with floats, beauty queens, politicians and clowns. Be ready for lots of drums, lots of very tall puppets, and lots of jubilant dancing. This year's theme is Uproar! Related to the Year of the Tiger, this is a call to be fully present to the uncertainties of these shifting times. Click on the video below to get a taste of the Parade.
The celebration in Powderhorn Park starts with the Tree of Life Ceremony at approximately 3:30pm. Be prepared to be mesmerized by 20-foot-tall puppets performing at the shore of the lake, as "the Red Sun flotilla paddles the Sun from across the lake to the shore, where the Tree of Life sleeps, ready to be awakened." It is truly a sight to behold.
This is a truly glorious, fun way to welcome Spring, especially after a long winter. Set to the beating of drums, you can watch the Ceremony unfold with a crowd of 50,000, most of them crowded on the hillside overlooking the lake. The Festival in the Park runs until about 7pm, with food, dancers and music on four different stages, and wandering performers throughout.
It takes a lot of people to to put this on, and planning is a year-round thing. You will see volunteers with Donation Buckets after the Parade and the Ceremony. Give generously. This is one of the most unique festivals you will ever attend. It's wonderful for all ages. Parking is touch-and go, though. Unless you know someone who lives in the area, be prepared to walk a ways, since this is a neighborhood and there are no parking lots, only on-street parking.
There are American Sign Lanaguage (ASL) and audio description services available for the Tree of Life Ceremony. If you or anyone in your group needs these services, meet at the seating area next to the ceremony ring after the Parade.