On Saturday, May 1, we gathered on the Folk School campus to celebrate May Day. The weather was glorious, sunny, with blue skies; the dogwoods and rhododendrons were in full bloom. This was the first socially distanced outdoor event hosted by the Folk School since the start of the pandemic. Everyone wore a mask in accordance with the Folk School Health and Safety guidelines. You could feel the happiness and love as the community convened for this special tradition. Spring was in the air!
The parade started at the Festival Barn, headed down by Open House and the Vegetable Garden, and ended in a big circle around the maypole by Davidson Hall. As the crowd settled down around the perimeter, Folk School Director Jerry Jackson welcomed everyone. Dancers dressed in white then circled around the maypole to participate in several traditional ribbon dances called by Nanette Davidson.
The Rural Felicity Garland Dancers, Stix-in-the-Mud Border Morris, and Dame’s Rocket NW Clog Morris represented the Brasstown Morris teams in parade and performance. Members of Dame’s Rocket worked together to bring to life a giant caterpillar puppet in the parade. The Brasstown Morris Dance Band played music filling the air with sweet sounds of fiddle, accordion, flute, banjo, guitar, drum, and more.
Puppets, costumes, and revelry are always part of the Folk School May Day celebration, but this year, the puppets were especially impressive as 16 local students participated in a puppet making workshop the week prior. The workshop was led by Donovan Zimmerman and Jan Burger, directors of the renowned Paperhand Puppet Intervention based in Saxapahaw, NC. Some students took inspiration from the natural world and made puppets representing woodland critters, birds, trees, insects, and flowers. Others chose or invented specific characters such as Rainbow Spirit, Casper, the Wise Old Woman, St. Francis, and Green Man. The puppets were a great addition to the celebration adding whimsy and merriment. We hope this tradition continues!
After the maypole dance and the Morris teams performances by the Craft Shop, the crowd paraded down Brasstown Rd., to the Brasstown Farmers Market, and up to the Crown to continue the celebration.
Thank you to everyone who participated in and attended May Day at the Folk School. We appreciate our community and are so happy to be able to safely congregate for treasured traditions like May Day. Enjoy our photo album below!
May Day at the Folk School
Enjoy an album of photo from the May Day parade and maypole dance at the Folk School on May 1, 2021. Many of the amazing puppets features were created by locals in a puppetry workshop with Paperhand Puppet Intervention. Click on any thumbnail to start the slideshow.
May Day Parade
Web Maypole Dance
Cory Marie Podielski is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She has been writing for the Folk School Blog since 2012 and enjoys interviewing artists, musicians, and craftspeople. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo, dancing, printmaking, playing in clay, and assisting in Folk School bread baking classes. podielski.com