Edit ModuleShow Tags

Minneapolis MayDay Parade & Festival


In elementary school, we celebrated May Day (May 1) by making May baskets that we could leave on our neighbor’s doorsteps; there may also have been a maypole involved once. What started out as a Celtic, pagan festival centuries ago is now commonly a celebration of spring, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Our local MayDay Festival is 38 years strong and takes place this weekend (Sunday, May 6), and it's so much more than maypoles and May baskets.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) of Minneapolis started this neighborhood tradition in an effort to bring the community outdoors after a long winter. What began as a group of 50-60 people in 1975 has grown to an event and parade drawing more than 50,000 spectators. Each year has a community or issue-based theme (in honor of those lost in the 35W bridge collapse, to imagine rebuilding a better economic system) with this year being no different: The End of the World As We Know It, focusing on “a community’s move away from fossil fuel dependency, toward a more sustainable, vibrant future.”

MayDay Ceremony, by Bruce Silcox
Photos courtesy of HOBT

Volunteers and members of HOBT work tirelessly starting in February to bring an event and parade that wows, creating a story and building spectacular puppets from water, flour, newspaper, and paint. The parade moves down Bloomington Avenue (starting at 25th Street East at 1 p.m.) in South Minneapolis, telling the year’s story through music, dancing, and giant puppets. The parade ends at Powderhorn Park, where a pageant retells the story through live music, a stunning flotilla (Spanish word for fleet of ships) moving across the lake, and an ending ceremony. The day ends with a festival filled with food, live music, dancing, poetry, canoe rides, and more. Keeping with the theme, one of the stages will be powered by solar energy, food will be compostable, fountains will provide free water for drinking, and there will be opportunities to learn about Minneapolis’ sustainable efforts.

The event is very family friendly and accessible to all, with a tactile tour for visually impaired attendees and ASL interpreters for the hearing impaired.

Each year HOBT offers a schedule of puppet shows October through May, so if you miss the MayDay events but visit in the winter, the community theater’s Saturday matinees are guaranteed family fun.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Hit the Road for a Fall Weekend in Alexandria, Minnesota

When fall comes around in Alexandria, Minnesota, the leaves aren’t the only things that are colorful. The fall festivals and events in Alexandria brighten up the first chilly months and give life to the city that lives on the lake during its summer.

Lantern Light Festival Celebrates Chinese Culture at Canterbury Park

Shakopee is the temporary home of dazzling lanterns illuminated in lights, Chinese performances, and a unique family-friendly experience.

Get Ready for a Sweat Fest

ALTR’s fitness classes in Minneapolis' North Loop are a high-octane thrill ride with a one-way ticket to shredded

Photographing the City on Your Lunch Break

Local photographer Wayne Moran leads afternoon tours through picture-perfect Minneapolis

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: October

Help out mothers and children dealing with homelessness, fight against cancer, and contribute to a north Minneapolis bakery with the Cookie Cart.

Best Minnesota Town Last Call for Votes

Help one of these 10 cities advance to the finals for a chance to win a party in their town, $50,000 toward an advertising campaign, and an editorial feature in Minnesota Monthly magazine.

New Fall Drinks at Tattersall Harvestival

The NE Minneapolis distillery features four apple-based drinks to celebrate autumn

Small Press, Big Impact: Graywolf's 2nd Literary Salon

Graywolf invited writers Layli Long Soldier, Carmen Maria Machado, and Danez Smith to the stage to challenge the status quo

New Places to Shop and Eat at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

MSP Airport's revamp just bumped it up to 6th best in North America—now with indoor food trucks, local brews, therapy dogs, and a golfing simulator

From Writer to Mid-Wife: St. Paul Writing Workshops Highlight Strength in Vulnerability This Month

Leading workshops through October, St. Paul author Ellen Sue Stern on the healing of writing

DNR Predicts Unusually Vibrant Fall Colors: Find the Best Spots

The MN DNR is predicting an especially colorful fall season due to ideal summer weather conditions. We found five spots around the state—including Lanesboro and Lake Superior—with great autumn views.

Duluth Indie Bookstore Celebrates Opening

Zenith Bookstore opens in the face of Amazon and free two-day shipping—because this Duluth retired couple knows that people love shopping small

What It Means to Light Up the St. Anthony Lock

A colorful light show fills the now-defunct lock with its own history

Save the Date for Unveiled Bridal Show September 17

Unveiled isn't just a bridal show, it's a fun and memorable experience.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags