May 4: 40th annual MayDay Parade will include themes inspired by city’s 1934 Teamsters strikes


The annual MayDay Parade and Festival presented by the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre is known both for celebrating spring and for honoring people’s struggles against rampant capitalism.

This year, the 40th annual MayDay Parade Sunday, May 4 will include themes inspired by the pivotal 1934 Teamsters strikes in Minneapolis. 2014 marks the 80th anniversary of the strikes, which made Minneapolis a union town and helped lead to the National Labor Relations Act in 1935.

“We’ve invited people who want to march in remembrance of [the 1934 Teamsters strikes] to march at the head of the parade,” said Sandy Spieler, Heart of the Beast’s artistic director. “It’s such an important legacy.”

The struggles of 1934 loom large in Minneapolis history, Spieler noted. “I heard about it early on when I arrived in town,” she said. “People were talking about it like it was yesterday.”

The MayDay tabloid distributed at the parade and festival will include information about the significance of the 1934 Teamsters strikes. “A lot of people know and a lot of people don’t know,” Spieler said.

The marchers at the lead of the MayDay parade will be given banners with labor slogans to carry. To RSVP to join this section of the parade, contact Colleen Casey at Parade line-up begins at 11:00 a.m..

To volunteer to help paint the banners honoring the 1934 strike legacy (and to suggest labor slogans), contact Sandy Spieler at the theatre at 612-721-2535.

With hundreds of costumed marchers and performers, giant puppets, music and drums, the MayDay Parade and Festival attracts as many as 50,000 people to Powderhorn Park.

The parade begins at 12:00 noon at the corner of East 25th Street and Bloomington Avenue South, then travels south on Bloomington to East 34th Street, where the parade turns west towards Powderhorn Park. After the parade has finished, Heart of the Beast’s MayDay Ceremony begins at 3 p.m. on the west side of Powderhorn Park.

Following the ceremony, a festival with food and music continues until dusk.

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