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.

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

The schedule for the day's will be posted here soon - stay tuned!

May Day 2016

The crazy 11th Annual May Day event on Mayne Island in 2016, a fundraiser for our many worthwhile projects, was on Saturday May 21st starting at the end of the first Farmers Market of the year.

During the event, Islanders & Visitors entered into the spirit of things and:

  • Bought raffle tickets
  • Got their faces painted
  • Flaunted flower garlands, masks & wands - made up beforehand or crafted on-site
  • Carried the Maypole to Miners Bay Park
  • Danced around it (the Pole, the Park or both!)
  • Got refreshed
  • Cheered the kids' games
Outrageous costumes were recommended, but not necessary!
Here is Schedule of "happenings" for May Day 2016 here

Tributes, Thanks and Pictures here

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: April 11 2017 18:05:37.