An urban parade and rural Gemuetlichkeit (May 17)

May 13, 2009

Last year we attended the Annie Malone May Day Parade on a gorgeous afternoon, and we had a blast. The kids liked the bands’ energy, and my husband enjoyed talking classic cars with one of the older men sitting near us. It’s one of the largest African-American parade in the country, and a while back there was debate about whether or not to move it downtown once it outgrew its longtime route in North St. Louis. I’d been along that route too, and it was quite a bit less official (for example, lots of folks selling hot dogs from their backyard grills), but the lively vibe has transferred to the new location.

Unfortunately, a reputation for violence among spectators has continued in the new location too. You may even have heard about shots being fired last year. It’s true that there was an incident (about a block from where we were) and police reacted quickly, but there were also tens of thousands of peaceful people who remained calm and waited for the parade to resume, which it soon did.

So my recommendation is to go see the parade on Sunday (May 18 ) — and help this very worthwhile charity in its main fund-raising effort of the year. The parade starts at 1 p.m. and winds along Market from 20th to 7th. When it wraps up around 4 p.m., a Bluesfest will begin on the stage at Kiener Plaza. This was a great concert last year, and if parades aren’t your thing, it’s well worth coming down just for the music.

Another worthwhile organization that’s celebrating on Sunday (May 18) is the German Cultural Society. Having lived in Germany for seven years, I can attest to the fact that Germans know how to throw a party!  Over there, the Maifests (May fests) or Fruhlingsfests (spring fests) would be sort of a season opener for the outdoor celebrations that culminate with the more-famous Oktoberfests and Volksfests in the fall.  This particular Maifest happens in Donau Park in Jefferson County, where starting at noon there’ll be music, dance performances and food and drink vendors. A mom in M.’s swim class highly encouraged us to come down for it, and I figure it will give me a good chance to practice my singing skills with “Ein Prosit,” that beloved beer-toasting song.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s