Fans of Minneapolis' beloved MayDay Parade will gather Friday for a fundraiser aimed at sustaining the 44-year-old spring celebration.

The puppet-filled parade is put on by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, which in January announced that it can no longer afford to present the event alone. The nonprofit recently launched a crowdfunding campaign so that neighbors and friends can contribute to the parade's $200,000 cost.

Friday's fundraising fest includes the premiere of a short documentary, "Children of Spring," which focuses on the kids who participate in the artsy south Minneapolis celebration.

"It gives them this chance to have this complete freedom of creativity," said the film's director Sebastian Schnabel. Want to dress up like a purple giraffe? Of course. Wear a massive green paper mache mask? Absolutely. "Anyone can be whatever they want to be," he said.

In the film's trailer, children as young as 5 describe MayDay and what it means to them. "A massive party of life," one girl says. Another: "It's absolutely intoxicating for me."

Schnabel made the 15-minute film with his wife, Cici Yixuan Wu, who is its producer. Neither is from Minnesota, and last year's parade was their first. Now they understand the people they met who, even after moving elsewhere, return for the parade every year.

"We have this feeling, too," he said.

MayDay for Mayday
When: 7 p.m. Friday, March 29
Where: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Mask Theatre's Avalon Theater, 1500 East Lake Street, Minneapolis
Tickets: $12 for adults, $7 for kids under 12. Find them here.

Photo above by Bruce Silcox.

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