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Garden club trying to revive May Day traditions

April 12, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

CLEAR SPRING -- Imagine hearing a knock at your door, opening it and finding a bouquet of flowers dropped off anonymously.

"Just a friendly little gesture. I call it a serendipity," said Kathleen King, a founding member of the Clear Spring Garden Club.

King and the garden club are trying to revive May Day traditions in the Clear Spring area by encouraging people to anonymously leave a container of flowers on their neighbor's doorknob or porch on Saturday, May 1.

King got the idea after seeing some magazine articles about the history of May Day and how to make May Day baskets.

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Garden club members are hoping to make May Day part of a three-year revolving tradition. One year, they would help organize May Day; another year, they would help organize Christmas in Clear Spring; and another year, they would help make life-size scarecrows to display around town in October, said Cindy Downs, club president. The next Christmas event is in 2011.

Each event involves the community, Downs said.

Club members stressed the May Day event is not a contest, just a way to beautify the Clear Spring area.

Clear Spring Elementary School's fourth-grade classes also are helping out, with the more well-known May Day tradition of the maypole.

Borrowing a pole from Clear Spring High, the fourth-graders will dance around it from 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. Thursday, April 29, on the elementary school grounds, said club member Isabelle Stottlemyer. If it rains, the dance will be moved into the gym.

Clear Spring community members can come to the maypole dance, but they need to check in at the school office first, Principal Shari Palm said.

The maypole dance used to be a tradition at the high school. King said the first May Day celebration she recalled at the high school was in 1949, when the school elected a May Day king and queen, and had a maypole dance. She didn't know when the tradition stopped.

Students in the fourth-grade classes, who study the history of Maryland, also will make May Day baskets to deliver to classroom doors, Stottlemyer said.

To get the word out about the effort to anonymously gift neighbors with flowers, the club plans to distribute fliers door-to-door in the Clear Spring community around Thursday, Downs said.

Eleven Junior Girl Scouts and Brownies in Girl Scout Troop 40267 will distribute some baskets in the community on May Day.

The girls made cone-shaped flower baskets out of wallpaper, said Leigh Snyder, a Scout leader with the troop. On May 1, the girls will meet at Clear Spring Park to fill the baskets with flowers and pinwheels they made, then walk around town dropping them off, she said.

Anyone with information about the history of May Day in Clear Spring or who wants to know more about the club's May Day activities may call King at 301-842-0020.

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