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Do you remember May Day at BFS?

The First May Day, 1928

Some readers may recall BFS May Day celebrations held at Friends Field and perhaps at Pearl Street. May Day was a huge lower school event that began in 1928. Each year had its own unique theme such as early U.S. settlers, nations around the world, the circus, toys, candy, and 1945’s theme of international peace and friendship. Each lower school class worked diligently on their individual class performances and costumes, there was dancing around the May Pole, king and queen of the May from the organizing-it-all 6th grade class, a picnic lunch, and the lower school was divided into school-color teams for the afternoon’s sporting events. Taking the entire lower school, kindergartners to 6th graders, to the Field required buses, so the gasoline rationing of World War II apparently kept the festivities at Schermerhorn for at least 1944 and 1945.

For many reasons, including the uncertainty of the weather, May Day was not always held on May 1. And, as happened in 1929, the rain sometimes forced BFS to call an early end to the festivities, only to have the sun come out once all were back on Schermerhorn Street.

This May Day Cartoon from page 43 of the 1929 BFS Yearbook provides an early example
of the work of the late Aldren Watson ’35, artist, author, and much more.  

Your friendly historian does not know when the last May Day was held and could use alumni help to figure it out, but does recall very vague early lower school memories of a May Pole at Pearl Street and thinking of dancing around one while looking at a coat rack in the 7th floor music room, all memories ca. 1973-1978. Perhaps memory is off and it was really the Art Festival found on page 7 of The Life, May, 1974.

The May Day Court, 1936