Mayne Island Conservancy Society

May Day

Photo of the 2012 MaypoleAt the Maypole in Miners Bay Park - 2014
Photo credit:Tom Hobley

Mad May Day:
A Celebration of the Greening of the Earth

If you have never been to a crazy May Day, such as the one that happens on the Saturday of the May long weekend starting at the first Farmers Market of the year, you have missed out on a lot of fun. May Day, celebrating the Greening of the Earth, is a fundraising event and has been happening since 2006. Each year is a little different but what doesn't change is that almost everyone wears a colourful costume or hat and has fun. So start planning your outfit for next year!


The paragraphs below were looking forward to the event and now on the 22nd we can "look back in pleasure" and thank many of the people involved in making the afternoon such a success - here is just the first roll-call of the gloriously willing, creative and talented people who make stuff happen:

Aaron, Karen & Sahara ReithoferAbbie SherwoodAmber Harvey
Andrew SmithAnita and Bella LauAnnette Witteman & Michael Garrett
Bill HaywardBill WarningDave & Rena Chase
Dawne CressmanGin NielsenHelen O'Brian
Izaiah SheerinKat FerneyhoughKristine Webber & Peter Robinson
Lael Whitehead & Richard IredaleLibbie BakeLena Losier
Sasha GodersLouis ValleeMaggi Cheetham & Tom Hobley
Marley Iredale & The Honey TonguesMeadow Dove & Mike NadeauOlga Lang
Steff McBurneySteve CropperTania & Tony Pearse
Vicky Kenny & Olivia Guasco  
Also thanks to the Mayne Island Drummers: Mike Nadeau, Ron Weeks, Byron Dyck & Louis Vallee
and the Anonymous Bearers of the May Pole! (see picture below for the some of the who)

Maggi Cheetham's 2017 Report *

MI Conservancy's Mad May Day was a great success. Thanks to Ron Willick, the weather was perfect and there were crowds of people at the first Farmers Market. Our volunteers worked tirelessly to make this event a success whether helping with mask making, wand and garland making or selling raffle tickets (see a list of the kind donors below & the volunteers listed above). Our volunteers brought fresh flowers from their gardens to use as decorations and to remind us that summer may finally be on its way and, as usual, to complement the fantastic May Day costumes.

Luckily for us the Honey Tongues had a gig at the Community Centre in the evening and offered to play for us at our event. What a wonderfully talented group of musicians. They played a wide range of great music and were such a joy to watch and hear. Check them out online.

The Quicks Bottom Morris Dancers as usual opened May Day after the market closed and their group had some quite young dancers dancing up a storm. That was fun to see. Elizabeth May judged the Fanciest Hat Competition, a new event and very hard to judge. Grace Garrett and one of the Morris dancers, whose name I forgot to get, won with truly fantastic hats. This event is a keeper for sure.

Our Queen this year is the beautiful Annette Witteman and our Green Man is the handsome Michael Garrett. Steffani Mc Burney, our 2016 Queen gave a lovely speech when she was crowning Annette and both Annette and Michael?s speeches were perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the event and the goals of the Conservancy.

The Maypole bearers and the Maypole dancers performed perfectly and the Community Spiral Dance got everybody up and twirling. The Lions Club again, and very kindly, served the lemonade and to go with that there were 5 cakes. Nobody starves at our events. Thank you Mayne Islanders, and off islanders, for supporting May Day. In that short day we managed to raise almost $1,600. A Big Thanks goes to our wonderful local raffle prize donors who generously gave to help us raise this great amount.

Bennett Bay BistroDonna WilliamsDr. Ariel Jones
The Farm Gate StoreGlenda Goodman & GG'sKayaking Gulf Islands
Lee IredaleM. I. Conservancy Native Plant GardenMayne Island Brewery
Meadow Mist FarmMeadow Dove Lang RMTMiner's Bay Books
Nomads EssentialsOrganic GrocerShavasana Cafe and Gallery
The Groove  
* This article will appear in a future edition of the Mayneliner

More about May Day 2017 on the Saturday of the holiday weekend (the 20th)

The event begins slowly with by-donation face painting, garland, mask and "wand-making" plus raffle ticket sales but the minute the market closes @ 1pm, Morris Dancers explode on to the market grounds and the fun begins. Raffle draws, children's circle pledge to the earth, singing and then the pole bearers gather and are sworn in. The pole bearers will carry the Maypole (yes, we have one of those) down to Miners Bay Park in a great procession. All sorts of music, drums and noisemakers accompany the pole and very importantly, our soon to be crowned May Queen and her Green Man (a mythical figure who embodies the spirits of plants & trees). Last year's May Queen is in this noble entourage too because she will crown the incoming queen. Accompanying the VIPs we always have fairies, nymphs & elves. We have bees, ladybugs, brave knights and dragons and a couple of gentlemen dressed in their best summer frocks. What will you wear? You can always make a garland at the market.

In the park, we have a mown grass labyrinth and that is where the coronation will take place. The new queen swears allegiance to the earth and promises to look after the crops and the land and the sea ensuring that we do no harm so that we can all enjoy the fruits offered to us. Following the coronation, the Maypole dances begin: first the children dance and then the island "maidens" perform the colourful ribbon dance. This could be followed by a spiral dance which includes everyone. As all of this is thirsty work, refreshments (by donation) of lemonade and cake are served to all. Children's games start and they are great fun. Maybe there will be more dancing. We never quite know.

This event is free but donation baskets are at the market and the Gazebo in Miners Bay Park where the refreshments are served. All the proceeds of which go to the Conservancy to help in the work we are doing on the island. The event finishes mid-afternoon. Info & to volunteer contact Maggi Cheetham

May Day in Years Past

Because so many Conservancy members and supporters have contributed to May Day in past years, older stories about May Day have been archived together with links to the photographs of the fun and games then unfolding. Click here to visit our "May Day Archive."

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Last modified: June 03 2017 14:54:00.