A Decade of Maypole Dancing

mp92-01 Hastings, Minnesota

More often than not in the final decade of the 20th century, spring in Hastings, Minnesota, was ushered in by a crowd of children decked out in flowers, satin ribbons, and flowing skirts, dancing about a Maypole.

The dance was a standard fixture in Hastings’ unique Front Porch Festival, at least while the Festival thrived in gentle (and ultimately unsuccessful) competition with the town’s more popular Rivertown Days. Dances took place in whatever spot was convenient, though the traditional spot became the lawn in front of the picturesque City Hall building (formerly the Dakota County Courthouse). The following pages contain photographs from the dance over the years:

In the dozen or more years since these photos were taken, I can happily report that most of these girls have grown into impressive people, including one PhD candidate in nuclear physics and at least one medical student.

Many of the photos here were taken with a Nikon FM2, and some were taken with various compact Olympus automatics. The better pictures were taken with print film; a few are contrasty slides that were scanned in from prints.The photos in 1999 were taken with a Canon Elura digital video camcorder in progressive scan mode, and downloaded using a Digital Origin FireWire interface.


In 2008, a composer and video artist GeHof constructed a pretty YouTube video using many of these images.

Questions about Maypole Dancing

After fielding numerous e-mails asking about Maypole dances, I’ve assembled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).Feel free to send me questions, comments, or corrections via e-mail: rick@smat.us.

Regarding Copyright

These pictures are provided to share a bit of Hastings with the rest of the world. The photographs are Copyright (c) 1999 Rick Smith. This is to discourage inappropriate use. I have no objection to thoughtful and appropriate redistribution, particularly by friends and family of the participants.