Mayne Island Conservancy Society

May Day Through the Years

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.

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 2015

Our 10th May Day celebration was a roaring success. Three months worth of preparation made for a great day: Face Painters International (M.I. Local), the Wand & Garland Makers Alliance, members of the ATBU (Amateur Treat Bakers Union) and various well known members of Raffle Sellers Anonymous really pulled it out of the hat, and that was just the commercial side of the Photo of the May Day giant puppetsoperation. As for entertainment and diversion for the masses in attendance, there was the Second Giant Puppet, the Dance on Mayne troupe, The Mayne Island Singers and the Drum Circle. One of the charms of the day, year in & year out, is the "look" of the crowd - everyone who was able glued, pasted or sewed wild and wonderful outfits just for the day.

May Day 2014

Mad May Day got underway shortly after the close of the first Farmers Market of the year with the now traditional trumpet blast, which was followed by the Mayne Dancers with musical accompaniment from Lael & friends. After a circle gathering of Fairies, Elves and Knights honoured "Mother Earth," the Earth Sea Spirit puppet & her new Consort floated onto the grounds, creating a truly magical moment. Afterwards the new Mayne Island Singers charmed the crowd while the re-energised raffle ticket sellers were hard at work raising funds for Conservation Action and Shoreline Care - many, many thanks to everyone who donated prizes!

After the Master of Mirth conducted a Swearing-in Ceremony for the pole bearers, always a highlight of the day, the procession struck out for Miners Bay led by the May Queen and the Green Man. The drummers kept things moving at a good pace Photo of some of the musicianswith their lively rhythms as they snaked into the park around the front of the library. The mown grass labyrinth was the site of the "Coronation" for the May Queen conducted in the presence of her entourage of loyal fairies, elves, & knights. She gave a lovely speech to the court and hangers-on (that's everybody else!) while facing each of the four compass points, whereupon the Green man thanked the Conservancy for hosting the event and keeping everyone mindful of their connections to the earth.

The pole was erected and the dancing began. First up were the Queen and her subjects followed by the Mayne Maidens who performed the ribbon dance around the pole. Dancing is thirsty work so refreshments were served. The MI Lions Club kindly donated their time to serve the lemonade, and there were cakes! While this unseemly gorging continued many young persons adjourned for energetic sports and games only to return later in a curious demonstration of sugar/gluten circularity. The smiles that developed during the day on the faces of those in attendance went home with them and, we hope, they will last until we do it all again next year!

Photo of one of the many drummers
RaffleFace PaintersMusicDrummersPuppets
MikeAnnette Rena 
May PersonsCakesLabyrinthGamesMMC*
* Master of Mirthful Ceremonies (Ag Hall Grounds Edition)
Above all thanks and congratulations are due Maggi Cheetham, Helen O'Brian, Lael Whitehead and their numerous helpers who plotted, sweated, cast spells and uttered obscure incantations to make this celebration the success it was. "Best yet" was a comment heard more than once. Well done all!!

For an almost blow by blow story of the event you cannot do better than visit Tom Hobley's Photoshare page - over 70 pictures and a caption for each one!

And This is the way it happened in 2013 ....


At about (all times approximate ‘cos time was suspended!)
1:00pmTrumpet player, Morris Dancers, Choir: “Now is the Month of Maying”
1.20pmKid’s pledge to Earth Sea Spirit & May Pole Bearers’ swearing-in. Song: Padstow May Song
1:40pmNoisy Procession taking May Pole to Miners Bay Park accompanied by Green Man, May Queens, knights, fairies, drummers, and the rest


1:55pmPole delivered to park
2:00pmCoronation of 2013 May Queen by last year’s Queen. Speeches by Green Man and new May Queen.
May Pole
2:25pmMay Pole erected accompanied by a song: Hal-an-toe.
2:30pmKids’ dance around the pole with May Queen & Green Man.
2:40pmDance of our lovely Mayne Maidens around the pole.
2:45pmRaffle Draw # 1
2:50pmCommunity Spiral Dance everyone welcome.
Games Area, Labyrinth & Gazebo
3:00pmKids’ refreshment & Raffle Draw # 2
3:10pmAdults’ refreshments kids’ games and Races.
3:25pm Morris Dancers with more dances….maybe!

A grand selection of photographs were taken by Tom Hobley who seemed to be everywhere at once throughout the day.

Tom has made many of them available on his PhotoShare site at in a beautifully captioned slide show. Go and play it or select the ones you want to see by browsing the "thumbnails"

Many thanks to Tom for documenting our fun and games once again!

Community May Day Celebration 2012 - Saturday May 19th

Here's What We Did


    • 1:00pm Trumpet player, Morris Dancers x 2 groups, Pole Bearers swearing-in and general Mayhem
    • 1:30pm Noisy Procession taking the May Pole to Miners Bay Park accompanied by the Green Man, the May Queen and fairies, drummers, and the rest of us


    • Labyrinth
    • At about
      • 1:45pm Pole laid down to rest on bed of ferns behind the labyrinth
      • 1:50pm Coronation (in the middle of the labyrinth) of this year’s May Queen. Speeches by Green Man and new May Queen
    • May Pole
    • At about
      • 2:15pm May Pole erected accompanied by song: Hal-an-toe
      • 2:20pm Kids’ dance and chant for May Day
      • 2:30pm Dance of our lovely May Maidens around the pole
      • 2:40 pm Community Dance everyone welcome
    • Games Area, Labyrinth & Gazebo
    • At about
      • 2:50pm Kids’ refreshment & Raffle draw
      • 3:00pm Adult’s refreshments entertained by Country Dancers – maybe!
      • kids’ games and Races
      • 3:15pm Morris Dancers

    And Here's Maggi Cheethams's Report

    Saturday May 19th was a great day for the Conserevancy's May Day event. Thanks to Ron Willick, the weather was wonderful and that brought everyone out to our first Farmers’ Market where the event began. Thank you to ALL the folks at the market especially Richard D’Armond for helping us make this as festive as possible. At our MICS’ table we had face painting, garland making and magic mini May poles to create: a very busy & colourful time.

    At 1:00pm our very own Mistress of Mischief, Michelle Footz, blew her trumpet and the madness began with the Quicks Bottom Morris Men (from Victoria) leaping onto the market grounds. This was quickly followed by Andrew Smith presiding over the swearing in of the pole bearers. In addition to fairies, nymphs & elves in our procession led by Steve Cropper, we had brave knights and dragons plus we had a couple of gentlemen dressed in their very best summer frocks. Rock on…

    Last year’s Queen Erin Abbott-Haines, with little Roane firmly attached, crowned our lovely Queen Leanna as the 2012 May Queen. Her Green Man, Mark Lauchner, and Princess Stella, were in attendance as were past Queens, Meadow Dove & Danielle. It was all very regal and proper.

    The planting of the pole was hampered by the mysterious disappearance of the earth that was supposed to hold the pole in place. We had no choice but to station several stalwart men around the pole holding it erect while the kids and the lovely Mayne maidens danced around it!

    This year the kids’ games were splendid as usual and, so that they weren’t left out, we had adult races as well. It was great fun.

    Thanks so much to the Quicks Bottom Morris Men, our generous raffle donors: Glenda Goodman, Meadow Dove, Home Hardware, Tree Frog, The Nature Trust of BC & dare I say, me:Maggi Cheetham. Thank too to our many volunteers – we love you all – come back next year. And last but not least, thanks to the public who supported our 7th annual May Day.

    We will start planning next year’s event in the fall and would like to make next year’s May Day even better. So if you have any ideas for us or would like to get involved for next year please email me . We’d love more volunteers. No matter how little or big a contribution of time you can give us, it will be greatly appreciated.

Now Some 2012 Photos "from the Market to the Park"

Thanks to Tom Hobley for all these pictures!
Photo of the gathering at the end of Farmers Market
The Market over & the Crowd Waits
Photo of the Pole Bearers listening to a reading of the Oath
Pole Bearers about to Take the Oath
Photo of the beginning of the May Day Parade
Parade Emerges from the Ag Hall
Photo of the Pole Bearers & their Pole
The May Pole Held High
Photo of the Pole Dancing
Ribbon Dancing Round the Pole
Photo Michelle Footz signalling the start of May Day
Michelle Footz starts the fun
Photo of the Noisy Paraders
Whistle, Toot and Shout
Photo of the Quicks Bottom Morris Men
The Morris Men March
Photo of the May Pole being placed
Setting up the May Pole
Photo of the Adult Sack Race
Senior Set Sack Racing
Photo 2 Past May Queens do the Three Legged Race
3 Legged Racing as well
If you don't see yourself in these pictures you can see more on Tom Hobley's picture sharing site

...And in the unlikely event you don't find yourself there try Terrill Welch's site at:!i=1856449158&k=zLGj9b5

May Day Report - May 21st 2011

2011 May Day Poster

2011 May Day Celebrations as They Happened

Because of the May Day date we were not able to make the Mayneliner June deadline, as a result, and having regard to the "signature" nature of the event in the Conservancy's year, we are reproducing Maggi Cheetham's May Day Report in full

"The Mayne Island Conservancy's May Day Festival was held on Saturday May 21st. In spite of the inclement weather people were decked out in their very best and we had great fun. There were more little fairies than ever plus we had one tiger - a first in our event. What a show of finery and fantasy.

At the Farmer's Market, our tireless face painter this year was Shaye Steele. With some help and encouragement from her friends, Shea did a brilliant job of making us look even more festive. Thank you Shaye and friends.

Anticipating warm weather and flower wilt, we had a make-your-own colourful garlands table with fresh flowers available. We were wrong about the weather but the idea was good. Our raffle ticket sellers, as usual, did a wonderful job and the prizes were great. Thank you to the sellers, Lynda Smyth, Dorothy Mills & MICS board members Without donors, raffles don't happen so thanks soooo much to:

  • Dove Lang who donated a gift voucher for a massage
  • Leanna Boyer & Mark Lauckner who donated a native plant and some heirloom tomato plants
  • Mike Nadeau who donated a beautifully designed owl or osprey house
  • Helen O'Brian who donated 5 bags of compost/manure
  • Michael Dunn who donated a special landowner "walkabout" to reveal hidden biological treasures.
The BIG event commenced as the market closed. Mayne Island Musician Extraordinaire, Michelle Footz, dressed in all the colours of the rainbow and more, raced into the centre of the market and blew her trumpet -Wow what an island gem. As soon as she had finished, in flew the Quicksbottom Morris Dancers from Vancouver Island, (namely: JD, James, Faye, John, Richard, and Joel) along with their musicians (Alan, Paul, Terry, & Veronica). We love their wild and crazy dances. Singers came next. Gail Noonan's enthusiastic Midday Chorus sang an African song in many parts. It sounded wonderful and was followed by our traditional Padstow May(ne) Song. A Big Thanks to everyone

As usual, before we could leave the grounds, our Master of Ceremonies, John O'Brian prevailed upon the May Pole bearers to solemnly swear to carry the pole and to serve the May Queen. Our pole bearers' hats were magnificent this year; all manner of shapes and colours with feathers galore. Thank you all for making this so much fun..

Steve Cropper with his tall green hat lead the procession carrying the pole and escorting the soon to be 2011 May Queen, the beautiful Erin Abbott-Haines & her handsome husband Andrew, the 2011 Green Man, to Miners Bay Park for the coronation. Our procession was as noisy as we could make it with drummers and musicians and people with noisemakers & bells accompanying us. It was a wonderfully mad & colourful procession bringing brightness to a cool, grey & rainy day. Thanks to everyone who created this procession and all who joined in to help.

When we got into the park, the Queen accompanied by her little and not so little green gossamer clad fairies walked the grass labyrinth which had been specially mowed by Doug McNeill. If any fairy sees a photograph of her/himself on our website and wants a copy; email Maggi (

After the coronation, the pole was planted accompanied with a traditional May song. Then the dances around the pole began. These were fun. First the children danced around the May Pole led by Amber Harvey. What a delight watching the little ones, some shy and others gregarious. The Mayne Maidens, of all ages and as graceful as ever, followed with the May Pole Ribbon Dance and then we had a community circle dance. Everyone danced. So much fun - thanks to the leaders and participants alike. Next up were the kids' games organized by Jessica Reveley - they were GREAT; thanks Jessica

Learning from last year, we made sure that there was enough cake & lemonade for everyone. Thanks to Brenda Webster & Deb Foote for their donations. And Maggi's little friend, Olivia, for her delicious recipe. Thanks very much to Bob Kerr for seeing that everyone got a slice. A special Thanks to Alan Guy and Doug McNeill for keeping the park looking great and for the beautiful labyrinth..

Some photos of the event taken by Tom Hobley appear below photos and many more are on our Gallery pages. If you would like an emailed copy of any one let Maggi know.

Planning this event so much fun from cake baking to garland making. We couldn't create this event without volunteers so again, thank you!!"

If anyone reading this feels the urge to get involved in the planning for May Day 2012 do get in touch with Maggi or call Mairi - just so's you know the "who does what" preparation starts ealy in the new year!

May Day 2011 Pictures from the Procession to the Park

Thanks to Tom Hobley for all these pictures!
Photo of the Pole leaving the Ag Hall
The May Pole is Up & Off to the Park
Photo of the Rythm Section
The Procession's Rythm Section
Photo of the May Queen & her Attendants
Queen, Consort Green with Fairies
Photo of the Noisy Procession
The Whole Motley Moves to the Park
Photo of the Pole Raising
Soon! A Pole-in-the-Hole!
Photo of Trumpet Player
Noisy Start to the Procession
Photo of the May Queen with Baby Fairy
A Minor B.C. Fairy Route
Photo of the May Queen & the Green Man
The Queen of Green
Photo of a May Pole Dance
Ribbons & Dancers Amok!
Photo of the May Pole arriving at Miners Bay Park
Having a Blue Hair Day
Photo of the Newly Crowned May Queen
Tiara Broom Away

May Day Report - May 22nd 2010

Under mostly sunny skies, a large crowd of residents and visitors were witness to a May Day that happened pretty much as scheduled. The day's fun started immediately after, or indeed slightly before, the end of the first Farmers Market of 2010. All kinds of rural jollification ended in a gently bawdy swearing-in of the polebearers, whereupon the May Pole, the Queen, her Attendants, the Green Man and sundry minstrels, vagabonds and string-players made their way, with the Market crowd in tow, to Miners Bay Park. There, the Labyrinth walked, the pole erected, the Queen coronated, and the Mayne Maidens having Ribbon Danced, more merriment broke out, involving kids sports, spiral dances and refreshments. Proceedings finally wound down sometime after the anticipated wrap of 3:15

In order of appearance we wish to thank the following for their huge contributions to an enjoyable afternoon:

2010 May Queen Crowned
  • Banquo Folk Ensemble
  • Quicks Bottom Morris Men
  • Island Thyme Morris Dancers
  • Mayne Island Country Dancers
  • All those present who joined in the Merry Mayne (née Padstow) song "Unite & Unite"
  • John O'Brian, Master of Ceremonies
  • Jesse Thom, Master of Mirth
  • Valiant Pole Bearers
  • Marley Iredale, The May Queen
  • Danielle Savard, May Queen 2009 who passed the Crown
  • Mike Nadeau, The Green Man

And not forgetting MICS' band of organisers Mairi Munro-Kerr, Lael Whitehead, and Helen O'Brian, led and inspired by Maggi Cheetham. In turn, they want to thank the following people who did so much to help:

  • Alan Guy & Doug McNiell who made sure the park was in great shape
  • Bill Bender & Gail Woodward who created the Labyrinth
  • Dove Lang for the face painting
  • Tina Farmillo for helping the 4-8 class to make Banners
  • Amber Harvey for directing the children's dance and Eden Evans, who baked a cake
  • Anita Lau, Dorothy Mills, and Jessica Willows who helped with the "kids' games"
  • Libbie Bake, Lynda Campbell, Jessica Easton, Deb Foote, Miriam Isaac-Renton & Chris Fretwell for selling Raffle Tickets
  • Eden Evans, Home Hardware, Jaiya, Dove Lang, Nomadic Routes, Mike Nadeau, Toby Snelgrove who donated Raffle Prizes
  • Richard Iredale for both groups of Morris Dancers, Brian Crumblehume for the MICD, Dave Chase for the Drummers and Gail Noonan for the Midday Chorus
  • Toby Snelgrove & Bill Warning, with an assist from Peter Judd, who Addressed the Public in the park
Most of all the Mayne Island Conservancy wishes thanks to all those who contributed $ to our fundraising effort and those who simply turned out to have fun, and did!

Pictures from the Farmers Market - 2010t

May Day Table
May Day Table Sells Broom Garlands
Lael Whitehead and her Vagabonds & String Players entertain
The Banquo Folk Ensemble
The Mayne Island Country Dancers
The M.I.C.D. Get Ready to Twirl & Swirl
The Quicks Bottom Morris Men
Quicks Bottoms & Banquos Perform
Pole bearers Sworn in
Polebearers Promise to Set it Up and ...

You can find many more photographs of the May Day Celebration 2010 on parade and in the park by visiting our Gallery page

Toby Snelgrove has posted lots of pictures of the full event on his website

Maggi Cheetham writes:

"We have been having so much fun planning this event from cake baking to garland making. Our volunteers this year were outstanding. Thank you everyone . . . . . .
If you would like to get involved in next year’s May Day email Maggi Cheetham or call and leave a message at 5919. See you next year!"

May Day 2009

This was the 2009 poster that helped to draw a big crowd to the Farmers Market for all kinds of merry-making. From there the marching/dancing crowd, dressed in all manner of costumes, and some wildly decorated, surged to Miners Bay with the May Pole bearing up and Banners flying. For some of Tom Hobley's pictures of the event see below!

Pictures from the Market to the Park - 2009

May Day
The Celebrating Crowd
May Day
The Choir's Month of Maying
May Day
One or Two Do Sing-along
May Day
Great Cheeky Brush Work
May Day
Many Styles of Face Paint
May Day
The Morris Men Sing & Dance
May Day
The MM's Knock Wood on Wood
May Day
Temporary Tattoos on Offer
May Day
There's a Morris Donkey Too!
May Day
The Mayne Island Mountie Leads
May Day
High Stepping to Miners Bay Park
May Day
Royal Progress to Fun in the Park
May Day
Coming into the Home Stretch
May Day
Will There be Sheltie Fun Also?
May Day
The Festive Drummimg Circle
May Day
May Pole on the Move
May Day
Bearers & Pole Well Dressed
May Day
Carefully Placing the Pole
May Day
Running the Labyrinth
May Day
Traffic Jam in the Labyrinth
May Day
Winding up the Streamers Begins
May Day
Inside Winders Gotta Duck

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 "Programme Archive."

       |    About Us     |    Site Map     |    Privacy Policy     |    Contact Us     |    Disclaimer     |

© 2012 Mayne Island Conservancy Society

    Top ^

Last modified: May 23 2017 15:32:38.