May Day 2012: In Photos and Behind the Scenes

Posted May 3rd, 2012 at 4:22 pm.

May Day 2012: By the Numbers

  • 1,400 flowers
  • 200 rose petals
  • 250 lbs of cheesesteak
  • 1,000 soft pretzels
  • 1,500 packages of TastyKakes
  • 1,300 pennants

For the Bryn Mawr community, May Day is a time for relaxation and celebration. Whether celebrating the closing of a semester, remembering the Mawrter spirit, or taking the time to celebrate the beautiful spring weather, May Day is a Bryn Mawr tradition that many look forward to each year.

Because it is such a valued tradition, expectations of May Day are high, and it takes a well-oiled crew of people to keep May Day running smoothly. “The May Poles don’t go up by themselves, trash cans don’t just appear, sound doesn’t just happen,” says Mary Beth Horvath, director of student activities. “That’s why an event like this is a team effort. Everyone has a part.”

Here are some of the departments on campus that played a large part in making this year’s Philly-themed May Day happen:

Facilities Services is responsible for all the grounds and campus preparation, electrical support for the various events throughout the day, and maybe most important, the placement and removal of the May Poles.

Facilities begins planning for next year’s May Day immediately after this year’s May Day. “While the events are fresh on everyone’s minds, we critique each event and the support we provide to find ways to improve our services for the next May Day,” says Ed Harman, assistant director for grounds.

Facilities’ day begins at 6 a.m., with 12-14 people providing assistance until 6 p.m.

Public Safety’s role in May Day is exactly what you might think it is; officers are assigned to promote safety and well-being for all participants. They provide augmented service both day and night on May Day, making themselves available at all major May Day events.

But keeping all the May Day revelers safe for 24 hours requires a substantial workforce.  A normal Sunday shift would include two officers and a dispatcher; for May Day, Public Safety had eight additional officers (for a total of 10) on duty during a majority of the festivities.

Dining Services plays a pivotal role in the May Day celebrations.  Just think, what is a Philadelphia-themed May Day without cheesesteaks and soft pretzels? We’re referring to the 250 pounds of cheesesteak, 1,000 soft pretzels, and 1,500 packages of Tastykakes that were served this May Day. Dining Services served 1,074 breakfasts, 1,299 lunches, and 1,619 dinners along with those snacks.

For Dining Services, May Day is an “all hands on deck” event.  Their day begins at 5:30 a.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m., with the majority of their full-time and student staff required to work.

Student Activities supports all the event planning that goes into May Day. Student Activities Director Mary Beth Horvath works with Traditions Mistresses Devanshi Vaid and Julia Stuart in January to come up with ideas and begin executing them. Horvath is responsible for booking all the acts, people, and vendors that contribute to May Day, from impersonators and the Morris Dancers to sound production crews and the horse and carriage.

On May Day morning, Horvath arrives around 8:15 a.m. and is the contact for everyone who is hired to perform or provide a service that day. Throughout the day, she is the person who makes sure things are running smoothly.

This year, Student Activities ordered 164 shirts, 152 hats, and 1,300 pennant giveaways. Two hundred rose petals were ordered for the May Hole; for the May Day tiaras, 1,400 flowers, 360 yards of floral tape, and 3,000 pieces of floral wire were used. Two hundred photos were taken with Rocky, William Penn, Betsy Ross, Ben Franklin, and Edgar Allen Poe.

Traditions Mistresses Vaid and Stuart, both graduating seniors, said that they had decided as first-year students that they wanted to take on the challenge of orchestrating  May Day. With the help of Bryn Mawr’s crack staff, they threw a phenomenally Philly party.

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