Minneapolis Celebrates MayDay w/ Massive Community Festival

Minneapolis, MN – Southside Minneapolis plays host to one of the largest MayDay celebrations in the United States of America. On Sunday, May 1st, 2016, for the 42nd time, the Heart of the Beast Theater organized a parade and ceremony “to bring people together for the common good.”

Unicorn Riot not only livestreamed the parade and ceremony, but hosted an information booth to raise awareness about our non-profit media collective.

Part of the Minneapolis Unicorn Riot team at the May Day 2016 festival

The theme of this years parade was Radical Returnings. Beginning at noon on 24th St. and Bloomington Ave, the parade then proceeded towards Powderhorn Park and featured a variety of artistic collaboration. All ages and ethnicities were welcomed to the community to contribute to the theme of Radical Returnings.

One of the great spectacles to happen every year is the Southside Battletrain. Completely human-powered by over one hundred people, this metallic seven-car train has a skate ramp, an aerial ballerina, a ferris-wheel, a smoke pit, and more. Despite leading the parade proceeding by nearly 20 minutes, the community supported Southside Battletrain was unpermitted to officially be a part of the MayDay Celebration.


For the past several years the Southside Battletrain pulls into the parade route a few blocks away from the entrance to the park. Yet, they are not frowned upon, the community has respected their autonomy. Again, the bigger picture is that “it’s community building, everybody comes together to make amazingness.”

Watch this video of the 2016 Southside Battletrain:

Although a day of celebration, the parade and ceremony had very somber parts to them. A major section of the Parade was devoted to the recently departed heart of Minneapolis, Prince, Andrew Laugh, and a local artist and community organizer Kirk Washington Jr.


The grief continued with another large section, this one immortalizing the recently assassinated environmental activist Berta Cáceres.



In the section remembering Berta Cacerás, a chant broke out: “Berta didn’t die, she multiplied”

After the themed sections, there are the free speech sections. Here are just a few of the pictures from the Free Speech section of the parade:

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At the conclusion of the parade comes the ceremony, which is always an intense experience because the scenes are written and directed by radical playwrights. This year’s ceremony was no different, focusing on the realities of White Supremacy, over 10,000 people were witness to this powerful piece.

You can find the entire livestream video collection of the 2016 HOTB May Day Parade here or watch below. You will notice that the videos will occassionally drop in and out; we believe this is due to the large volume of people in one location using mobile networks. We are continually working to improve our viewer experience.

Unicorn Riot had an information table this year at Powderhorn Park. It was a very gracious experience for the collective as we heard how the greater community viewed our work and the consensus of love and appreciation we received was beyond humbling. We would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support and thank HOBT for letting us volunteer.

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