Mayday Parade faces funding challenges


In an open letter published online, the producers of the annual Mayday Parade and Festival announced budget cuts for the 2013 event and put into question the parade and festivals’ future financial viability.

The statement from Sandy Spieler, the artistic director of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, which produces the Mayday Parade and Festival, was posted on the Twin Cities Daily Planet Jan. 25.

It said because of budget shortfalls and lower than expected donations, the theatre company was faced with the prospect of not holding Mayday festivities. Instead, it cut this year’s Mayday budget by 33 percent, already resulting in the hiring of fewer artists and organizers.

Spieler said in the statement that In the Heart of the Beast Theatre receives no city funding for the event and relies upon grants, event ad revenue and donations to finance Mayday activities.

Mayday expenses include the rental of Powderhorn Park, security costs and the payment of about 80 non-volunteer artists and organizers, Spieler said in the statement. She also offered a funding solution.

“If everyone who comes to Mayday contributed $5 (less than the cost of a movie) then Mayday would flourish, end of story,” she said.

Spieler said the community has been supportive and appears ready to help in an interview Monday.

“It’s amazing how much response it’s brought and we’re really thankful for that,” she said. “Actually, there’s a lot of new ideas on the table. It’s kind of spreading, amazingly.”

“I just realized that people have no idea that it’s pretty much produced by In the Heart of the Beast Theater,” she said.

Spieler is optimistic that greater public knowledge of the financial needs of the Mayday events will help now, and into the future.

“It’s putting the reality of [Mayday] out there into the arms of this big community that loves it,” she said, “so hopefully we’ll be able to initiate a means of support from that showing of love.”

This year’s Mayday Parade and Festival is scheduled for Sunday, May 5. It will be the 39th Mayday Parade and Festival.

The parade is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the corner of 25th Street E. and Bloomington Avenue S., when it will travel south on Bloomington Avenue until 34th Street E., where it will continue west to Powderhorn Park for the festival from 3 p.m. until dusk.