May Fair: 5/11

A Traditional Celebration

May Day has long been a celebration of spring and warmer weather. People in the past lived by a seasonal calendar and May 1st marked a special day on it for many of them. Many cultures have celebrated May Day for centuries and their traditions and customs often included dance, games, and libations to celebrate spring and the coming of summer. The Frontier Culture Museum will host a May Fair on May 11, 2019 to demonstrate and discuss some of these customs and traditions.

Activities for May Fair include Maypole dancing, traditional baking, seed planting, butter making, bock beer brewing, and discussions about historic superstitions. There will even be a May Fair play performed by members of the Museum’s John Lewis Society!

Visitors are invited to enjoy some of these traditions and practices at the Museum’s outdoor exhibits and learn about early May customs in the Old World and how people on the American frontier created new customs and practices based on the American experience. 


English Farm

Maypole Dancing: 10:00, 11:00, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30
Learn the Maypole ribbon dance and help decorate the maypoles

Irish Farm

Decorating the house & livestock with greenery
Learn about Celtic superstitions

German Farm

Brewing Bock beer

Cochran Pavilion

The Page County Ramblers will be playing on the Pavilion from Noon – 2:00 pm

Native American Site

Hide Work on the Eastern Woodlands Indian encampment

1740s American Farm

Field Work
Learn how these early settlers transitioned from subsistence farming to surplus farming

1820s American Farm

Traditional Baking, Superstitions & Games
To the Pennsylvania Germans, the first day of May held special magic powers and some superstitions continue even into the 20th century.

1850s American Farm

Butter Making
The profitability of butter making was higher than textile production and agricultural families adjusted to take advantage of market opportunities