As a Mayday virgin, I expected to see fairy wings, tattoos, hipster clothing on display and a ton of American Indian feathers and bangles, but I must have missed the memo about the theme of the parade.
Most of the floats served as a medium for messages that small-town political parties used to convey collective opinions about current events. “The Elephant in the Room” group displayed their anguish for the failings of democratic procedure with stilt walkers draped in massive figurehead masks, and the strength of the people after the Emerson incident was also made apparent with a papier-mâché phoenix rising above cardboard flames.
Minnesotans reclined on second-story roof tops and others pushed past a clamoring bushel of strollers, tank tops, and dripping Popsicle sticks to get a better view.
Overall, the participants were oftentimes confused with parade-goers as everyday people walked alongside a band of ragamuffins playing a battered trumpet to the sound of “War Pigs” to meet their friends who waited for them at the crux of the parade, where the Mad Max crew sliced chunks of sizzling meat from a steam-punk half-pipe contraption fashioned from one of those pedal pubs you see around town.
Mayday Parade 2015 was a fight to release a form of free speech that some felt they had been stifling within themselves for too long. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think the message might have been lost on the 95 percent Caucasian crowd while they clapped along to the few standing proudly in the floats, chanting, “Black lives matter!”
And here, I thought we were all celebrating the warm weather of spring after a long winter.
Mayday Festival is still going strong, scheduled to cease and desist around dusk, after the ceremony at Powderhorn Park.