It’s been a wintry April, and sometimes it felt as thought this day would never arrive, but here it is at last: May Day!
In South Minneapolis, Spring is ushered in by the Heart of the Beast Theater’s MayDay parade. Running down Bloomington Avenue from 26th Street to Powderhorn Park, this is a fun and funky neighborhood event. The theater’s artists have been working with their neighbors in Powderhorn and surrounding neighborhoods to build the floats, costumes, and banners that will welcome the return of Spring.
The Heart of the Beast Theater (and this parade) is actually the first of the 52 places in A Dad’s Eye View. Unfortunately, the book will hit the shelves (and the iTunes App Store) a couple weeks after the parade is a glorious memory, so here are a few tips if you’re coming to watch today:
Don’t underestimate the traffic! There will be a lot of people packed into just a few blocks. Get to the parade early (it kicks off at 1PM). If you’re inclined toward bicycling, this is a great event for it: the Midtown Greenway gets you there!
Explore East Lake! If you get to the parade area early and need a little lunch, you’ll find plenty of options on East Lake Street. My personal favorites are Taco Taxi, just east of Bloomington Avenue; Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian deli, a block west of Bloomington Avenue; and the Mercado Central, which houses Manny’s Tortas, a Mexican sandwich shop beyond compare, and a great bakery for all the Latin sweets you could ever want. The Visit Lake Street web site has lots more tips!
If you want to avoid the crowds, stake out your spot north of Lake Street; between 27th and 28th Streets, you’ll be able to see the parade (when it’s still fresh: marchers and paper maché get a little droopy toward the end) without as many watchers, and can make your escape more easily.
If you LIKE the crowds, the most fun is to be had at Bloomington and 34th, where the parade turns west toward Powderhorn Park. This is where the die-hard parade watchers have been lining up for years, and it’s great fun to watch the giant puppets and floats make that turn and start down the hill.
Stay for the ceremony! At about 3:30 PM, the Spring ceremony will kick off. It varies a little every year, but will almost certainly involve fancifully decorated canoes crossing Powderhorn Lake and the sun being carried up the hill. There are food vendors (covering the range from State Fair favorites to vegan options), entertainers, and activities at the park between the parade and the ceremony, so there’s little chance of getting hungry or bored.
Last year, Jack and Peter were a tiger in the “Growl!” section of the parade, Kelly carried a banner, and I ran alongside with my cameras. This year, we’re all in the “!drawroF” section (that’s “Foward!”, backwards): the boys are coyotes, and Kelly and I are dodo birds (do I detect some type casting?). Watch for the meticulously painted yellow dodo and the garish green one (I’m green), and we’ll wave back!