Common Ground

Parks forge traditions

On Sunday, I participated in one of my favorite annual traditions in Minneapolis, spending a sunny afternoon with several thousand others reveling in the awakening of spring in Powderhorn Park at the Heart of the Beast Theater’s MayDay parade and festival. This four-decade-old tradition celebrates the elements that make our community great, while recognizing the pernicious social and environmental inequities that persist.

MayDay is, in many ways, a demonstration of the power of public-private collaborations – where creativity and community activists can transform public space into something greater than its physical characteristics.

A collage of art, activism, nature, and community, MayDay has become annual ritual shared by thousands and a way to welcome newcomers from around the world. The festival has grown to be a celebration of the magic that occurs in our parks and public realm – the spaces where we can come together as a community and build on our shared story.

Parks frame so much of our civic life through the connections to the natural world and each other.  Minneapolis parks, in particular, help weave the community together for special occasions like May Day, as well as everyday activities such as a community class or youth programs.

As we finally burst into spring and summer, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is focused on our goal of adding new places where future celebrations and traditions will emerge. The parks along the Upper River – beginning with Water Works and stretching north to Hall’s Island, the Great Northern Greenway River Link, and the Upper Harbor Terminal – are all sites within RiverFirst that, when finished, will generate new connections to the natural world and the mighty Mississippi.

Join us this spring for several opportunities to see our parks in a new light – whether it’s this Thursday’s season-capping Next Generation of Parks event featuring Sabina Ali, Get Outdoors Day on June 8th, or the premiere of our new Walk & Talk series on June 21. There are ample ways we can together begin new traditions in our parks.

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.