May Day 1965

Modern May Day has deep roots at Manchester

May Day weekend, as students and alumni of Manchester University know, is a time when the campus community comes together for one last hurrah before buckling down to study for finals.

This event occurs the first weekend in May every year at the North Manchester campus. Although the activities have changed over the years, the May Day tradition dates back decades.

In earlier years, this event celebrated the end of the year with women in white dancing around a maypole, and an annual parade with a royal court.

Mud Volleyball 2014Today’s activities, however, include mud, fire, trikes and air bands.

“May Day preparation is quite extensive, and the Manchester Activities Council begins preparation months in advance.  It takes a lot of planning and organization to pull off four large events that occur over the course of three days,” says Shanon Fawbush, MU director of Student Activities and Orientation.

The Manchester Activities Council’s most popular May Day event is the Mud Volleyball tournament. The event – which takes place all day the Saturday of May Day weekend behind the baseball field – draws about 60 teams. Like the name states, participants will be covered from head to toe in mud by the time their team has finished a match.

“Mud volleyball is a unique event and gives students the opportunity to do something they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do,” Fawbush says. The first game is at 10 a.m.

Members of the public are welcome to cheer on the teams.

Other MAC activities include the bonfire at 8:08 p.m. Thursday at the softball field; trike race at 5 p.m. Friday at Garver and East residence halls; and Air Band competition at 9 p.m. Friday at the Physical Education and Recreation Center known as the PERC. 

Though May Day is exclusively prepared for by MAC members, other events are scheduled to take place this weekend, including the BBQ Cook Off at 5 p.m. Friday outside the Jo Young Switzer Center, sponsored by Chartwells; the drag show at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Wampler Auditorium, sponsored by United Sexualities; and My Experience at Manchester at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Jo Young Switzer Center upper level, sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Prepared by Heather Elson, student media relations assistant.

April 29, 2015

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