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May Days tradition stays strong in Boston Bar

Mabel Grant stands with Brittany Conkin and Stephanie Jack at the 2002 Boston Bar May Days. Jack was in the incoming queen and Conkin was the outgoing queen that year.  - Submitted photo
Mabel Grant stands with Brittany Conkin and Stephanie Jack at the 2002 Boston Bar May Days. Jack was in the incoming queen and Conkin was the outgoing queen that year.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Signs of spring are all around us, but the most obvious celebration of the turning of seasons is the arrival of May Days.

For more than 80 years, the town of Boston Bar has been welcoming spring with a parade, May Pole dance, and of course, the naming of the May Queen.

This year, the honour goes to 16-year-old Justice Watson, a student at Boston Bar elementary secondary school.

Joan Blakeborough, from the Boston Bar North Bend Enhancement Society, said May Queen ceremony has been a favourite for many years.

In the 1930s, the girls would be all dressed in white, but that has changed over the years, she said.

"They're given a cape and a crown and the whole bit," Blakeborough said.

"We have the retiring queen who will be in the float," she said.

Last year's queen was Richelle Roche, also from Boston Bar.

While prospective queens used to go door to door to drum up donations and support for their reign, now the queen is decided by number of votes.

"I guess now they figure that's not safe," she said, to go door to door.

The very first May Queen in Boston Bar was Mable Grant, in 1927, who has recently passed away. Blakeborough remembers when Grant was honoured in the 2002 ceremony with a special, quite regal, entrance.

"She was the first one," she said. "So it was good to have her there. She was sitting right up front in the coach."

The tradition of May Day is not one that's commonly celebrated, but there are many communities around the world that have kept it alive.

Boston Bar has the second longest running May Day celebration, second only to New Westminster. May Day there has been celebrated since 1870, making it the longest running May Day celebration in the entire Commonwealth.

"I think it's neat we're still doing it," Blakeborough said.

The crowning of the May Queen is just the start of the day. After that, the school children will perform the Maypole dance, winding ribbons elaborately around the pole.

There are also community awards, and a huge celebration with vendors, a silent auction, beer gardens and food tent.

Singer Lou Morocco will perform his Vegas style Superstars of Magic, with music that spans the decades.

For more information, visit www.bostonbarbc.net.

 

 

 

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