MayDay festival returned to Minneapolis this year with old and new elements, drawing a cheerful crowd despite dreary weather.
This year's MayDay was different from MayDays past. Following a two-year hiatus, instead of a traditional parade, there was an art-filled political and cultural festival hosted by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and MayDay Council in the Four Directions Family Center's parking lot.
Meanwhile, more than 100 people gathered at Powderhorn Park for "MayDay Anyway" to see traditional MayDay events such as the sun flotilla paddling across the lake, and there were a few rogue parades of puppets and the battle train.
"The yearly built-in ritual of MayDay is jubilance, so you can feel that and then underneath that, there's grief and uncertainty. And I think the mix of it actually is acceptance. And being ready for whatever comes next," said Becka Tilsen while wearing a mask of her great-grandmother Meridel Le Sueur created by the late Soozin Hirschmugl.
Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue led the festival with support from Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee. There, Aztec dancers and Medicine Woman Mojiganga, welcomed festivalgoers on Sunday, which aligned with International Workers' Day.
Susana De Leon, leader of Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue, wanted this year's MayDay to center on artists of color, immigrants and Indigenous people.
A stage featured community activists, musicians, local poets and Daughters and Sons of Yta Scandinavian dancers, the Jewish musical group Nanilo and a Caribbean music group directed by James Byron.
Artist Gustavo Boada worked with youth from Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue at El Colegio school to build a traditional Mexican puppet. A turtle puppet, known as an "alebrije," was secured to a tricycle that maneuvered through the crowd at Four Directions.
Roosevelt High School students are planning their own MayDay celebration for Friday.