Minneapolis May Day Parade

May 1, 2012 by

For people of a certain age, the phrase “May Day Parade” probably conjures Soviet-era photos of black-booted soldiers marching in endless columns past the Kremlin.

To get a feel for the annual Mayday Parade and Festival in Minneapolis, MN, imagine the absolute polar opposite of that Soviet tradition. There are giant puppets. There are drum circles. There are yearly themes like “Prayer for the Flowering of Compassion.” There are canoe rides and mini-donuts.

The Mayday Parade and Festival was begun by the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater in 1975. Still hosted by the puppet theater every year on the first Sunday in May, the festival has grown from a few dozen neighbors to a well-loved tradition with more than 50,000 annual revelers.

After a short parade along Bloomington Avenue that features spectacular oversized puppets, the party moves to Powderhorn Park for a pageant with hundreds of people (plus more giant puppets) acting out each year’s chosen theme. There’s a traditional Tree of Life pageant, after which people dance and sing and shop artist booths and eat fried foods and people-watch and generally celebrate until the sun goes down.

Parking can be difficult near the festivities, so public transportation is recommended.

Image: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater

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2 Comments so far

  1. Bailey Haack says:

    Bad news! Due to poor weather, the MayDay Parade & Festival has been postponed until Sunday, May 13. All other times and details will remain the same. For more information please call (612) 721-2535 or see our

  2. Tara says:

    Useful information — thanks for letting our readers know!

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