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

What to Do for Twin Cities Pride, June 22-24

Mark your calendars for the best events of Twin Cities Pride

First Look: Lora Hotel Opens in Stillwater

Stillwater gets an update with a boutique hotel offering river and downtown views

Summer Nanny Bucket List

Unleash your inner child at these fun Twin Cities locations

Brews and Bonfires

Who doesn't love craft suds and yard games on a summer night?

6 Paddle Board Rentals in Minnesota

Lake Waconia, Bde Maka Ska and Lake Itasca are just a few of the rental destinations that make for an easy afternoon of paddle boarding

Duluth in Three Days

Duluth has a lot to offer the weekend warriors

6 Foods to Pack for the Cabin

Don't head north to the cabin without these delicious necessities

Seeing a Casino as a Campus

Mystic Lake Center, which opened at the beginning of the year, is just one of the features that make Mystic Lake more than a casino

Stone Arch Bridge Festival

A party that's as beloved as the bridge itself

Minnesota Drive-In Movie Theaters

No matter what your age is, drive-in movie theaters make for a fun retro outing

Summer Events for Food Lovers

From quirky small town get-togethers to “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” make sure not to miss these summer events celebrating delicious food.

Find New Adventures In Minnesota With These Engaging Experiences

Minnesota—where you can drive bulldozers for fun

3 Last-Minute Camping Options

Plan a camping trip on the fly—Minnesota's good for it

Chalkfest at Arbor Lakes

Enjoy a two-day free street festival dedicated to the art of chalk, June 9-10
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags