May Day Festival to mark school end, summer start

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 2, 2008

School is almost out, and the Community Action Group ofBrookhaven is ready to throw the first party.

Saturday morning at 10 o’clock, CAGB will host a May DayFestival for all the children in the city at the Dr. A. L. LottBaseball Complex. The festival will end at 1 p.m. and will befollowed by the opening ceremony of the Dr. A. L. Lott BaseballLeague, with the first game at 5 p.m.

CAGB President Roy Smith said the festival would feature severalactivities, such as leap frog contests, sack races and volley ball.Music will be performed live during the event, with food will beserved in abundance, with Bowie Barbecue on hand to supply the sideorders to a host of hot dogs and hamburgers. The festival willculminate with the wrapping of the Maypole.

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“It’s an old traditional thing from back in the 1960s and1970s,” Smith said. “Around the first of May, the schools closeddown and the kids had a big picnic for May Day. That’s what we’retrying to do – give the kids a real nice little outing forMay.”

Smith said he hopes children from all over Brookhaven willattend the event, but he pointed out that it is not just forchildren. With the wrapping of the Maypole, Smith is hoping the MayDay Festival will generate a few good memories for the adults inattendance as well.

“Wrapping the Maypole was something that happened to me when Iwas in the sixth grade at Bogue Chitto,” said CAGB member EffiePoole, who came up with the idea to center Saturday’s festivalaround the Maypole. “We’ve always wanted little children to knowabout the Maypole. Many have not seen it. “

The Maypole, formerly an important part of school-endingactivities, will be wrapped by as many as 16 children, Poole said.Sixteen strings of different colors will be suspended from theMaypole, and the children will each take one and circle the poleuntil it is wrapped, thus accomplishing the Maypole dance.

The event is designed for more than just bright colors and hotdogs, however. Poole said the festival would serve to get childrenstarted down the right track for the summer.

“I want the children to have something to motivate them,” shesaid. “I want to make sure that they pick up on something elsebesides walking the streets and getting out in a crowd they don’thave any business being in.”

Admission to the festival and all its events is free. CAGB willaccept donations, as donations are the only source of funding forthe event and subsequent events.

While the May Day Festival and the Dr. A. L. Lott BaseballLeague are not directly related, one is a champion of the other -CAGB has several members volunteering in the league, and the grouphas actively supported it.