St. Mary School celebrated May Day and the end of winter Tuesday by dancing around maypoles at Boardman Arts Park, 154 W. William St., Delaware.
“All around the world, no matter where you go, there’s one thing people everywhere has in common — the passing of time,” said John Blakeslee, a music teacher at St. Mary and coordinator of the maypole dances. “Every culture has special ways of marking special days of the year with food, festivals, music, dance and other traditions. May Day is one of the most widely celebrated calendar customs in the world. It signifies the end of the cold winter and looks ahead to the bright productive days of spring and summer.”
The mention of an end to winter drew a big round of applause from the more than 100 attendees who turned out for Tuesday’s event.
Blakeslee explained that he spent the last three to four weeks teaching students how to dance around the maypole and said because of the cold weather, someone had to build a practice pole in the gym at St. Mary so the students could practice.
The students did three dances around the poles and then did two dances with members of the audience, wrapping ribbons around the maypoles as they danced.
Blakeslee said he is retiring later this month after teaching for 43 years and added he saw organizing the dances as a way to “go out with a bang.”
“I think it turned out great,” Blakeslee said. “The kids were just having so much fun. When the audience joined in to participate there was just so much giggling and laughter, and this whole spirit. It was the perfect day. We’ve been cold for so long and suddenly, it’s May Day, and this is what May Day is all about.”
The event was put on by the Northwest Neighborhood Association in conjunction with numerous community partners and sponsors.
Northwest Neighborhood Association President Roxanne Amidon said events like the May Day event go along perfectly with Boardman Arts Park’s new slogan, “Where creativity and community meet.”
“Our intention is to have events, many times a month, to support all types of arts,” Amidon said. “We really wanted to use it as a place to celebrate the community.”
Amidon added Blakeslee did a “wonderful” job with the celebration and hoped the community could come out for more events at the park in the future.
For more information about the park and upcoming events, visit delawarenna.org.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.