Mark Your Calendar for the 95th Annual May Days May 4-13
Mark your calendar for May 4 to 13, when Port Coquitlam celebrates its 95th annual May Day Festival with free family activities, local culture, live entertainment and more.
Dating back to 1923, May Days is Port Coquitlam’s annual spring festival and one of its signature events.
Thousands of people from throughout Metro Vancouver visit downtown Port Coquitlam for each year’s Rotary May Day Parade – one of the biggest in the region – followed by an afternoon of entertainment and activities in Leigh Square.
This year’s parade is May 12, with a pre-show at 10:30 a.m. by the Vancouver Police Department motorcycle drill squad, and the official parade start at 11 a.m. Early birds can also enjoy a pre-parade pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Outlet at Leigh Square, with the $4 cost supporting the 4th PoCo Scouts.
Party in the Square (formerly the Community Block Party) will follow the parade on May 12 from about noon to 5 p.m., and include:
- Live entertainment in the Leigh Square bandshell headlined by indie rockers The Matinée,
- Children’s crafts and activities in the free Kids Zone,
- The Artisan Market, PoCo Biz Alley tradeshow and community displays,
- Historical trolley tours leaving every half hour from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.,
- An emergency preparedness fair, and
- Food trucks and a beverage garden.
The festival officially kicks off with the May Day Opening Ceremony on May 4, 7:30 p.m. at Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex, featuring May Pole dancing by local children, dance performances and the presentation of the 2018 May Day Royal Party.
Also on May 4, Art Focus Artists’ Association will open its 25th annual spring show from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Outlet at Leigh Square. Featuring a Springtime in PoCo theme, the show will continue on May 5 and 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Art lovers can also drop by the Michael Wright Art Gallery next door in Leigh Square, where the Imaginings art exhibit by Riverside and Terry Fox Secondary students will run from May 4 to June 25.
On May 11 at 6 p.m., Bryan Ness of PoCo Heritage will guide the year’s first free heritage walk, a leisurely and informative look at Port Coquitlam’s past.
That same evening at 7 p.m., the 80-member Choral Connections Choir will fill Leigh Square with cabaret songs during their free performance in the bandshell.
After the events downtown on May 12, the festivities wrap up May 13 with the Mother’s Day Picnic at Lion’s Park. The Kinsmen Club will host a $4 pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May Pole dancing and free family activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
May Day’s roots go back centuries. In ancient times May was a time of outdoor celebration, and May Day was celebrated by the Romans with flower-decked parades in honour of Flora, their goddess of flowers. In England, village youth would collect flowering boughs to decorate hawthorne trees – the predecessors to the May Pole.
Port Coquitlam first celebrated May Day as a community in 1923, with May Pole dancing and the crowning of a May Queen. While the festival has evolved and grown over the years, it has maintained many of its original traditions, including May Pole dancing and the crowning of local children as May Day “royalty” – a May Queen and Ambassador along with a Royal Party.
Full event details, including road closures and parking, will be available in April at www.portcoquitlam.ca/maydays.
** Requests for media passes to the various events must be requested in advance by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 604-927-7935
Program Coordinator – Community & Civic Events
City of Port Coquitlam