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Dance into May

Photo by Maureen Cassidy 2011
May 5th, 2013 was the third annual May Picnic in the Park and it made me proud. Three years in a row feels real.

My family came from Germany, but I'm not sure that explains my personal zeal for a May Pole celebration. I just thought there should be one in Madison and so I started one. Now I'm trying to learn more about the roots of the tradition in hopes I can uncover my own ulterior motives or past lives.

My friend is the River every year in Minneapolis's huge MayDay Parade. I get the impression he was sort of raised by the beast and goes back, like for Christmas, to play his part in the pageant.

The cool thing is that the May Picnic in the Park that I've organized with a friend for three years is now our family tradition. My three-year-old daughter has no idea it was basically started for her when I realized that parenting by the seasons made sense to me. I like traditions and am making them up as I go.

We planned it and people came. The kids arrive and help decorate the pole with flowers. Musicians bring fiddles and play whatever they feel like. Families plop down blankets and share food with friends and neighbors. I've never counted heads but each year the lawn is covered in a concert-on-the-square way. It's awesome!

One of the women who is working to open a public kitchen in town (just her latest commendable endeavor) explained she knows an idea is ripe when her conversations are filled with people saying "that's a great idea." Butts on blankets translates for me!

Photo by Maureen Cassidy 2011

Organizers Jessica and Helen 2011
Organizers Jessica and Helen 2012

At age three, she helps to decorate the May Pole 2013

Her second May party in the park!

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