Ickwell's May Day celebrations are back after two year hiatus

One of the biggest events in Chronicle Country's calendar is back this bank holiday, as residents are invited to Ickwell May Day's celebrations.

By Jo Gravett
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:39 pm

Families can enjoy fun and festivities on Monday, May 2, when audiences can watch morris, maypole, and country dancing, as well, of course, as the crowing of the May Queen.

The event begins at 1.30pm with a procession from The Crown Public House, Northill, to the nearby village of Ickwell, and residents are full of excitement since Covid-19 scuppered the 2020-21 dates.

An Ickwell May Day spokeswoman said: "Kiera McGilley our incoming May Queen was voted for by the local village children in 2020 and has been waiting patiently since then to be crowned.

Left: Incoming May Queen, Kiera McGilley, aged 15. She is a student at Samuel Whitbread Academy, Shefford. Photo: Neeve McGilley. Right: 2018 May Queen, Fiona Sutherland, with her page boys and flowers. Photo: Nadine Grummitt.

"Kiera has danced in the May Day festival for many years, having started when she joined Northill Lower school as a four-year-old."

A team of morris dancers will lead the procession and a tractor will pull a trailer to transport the May Queen, her attendants, and page boys to Ickwell Green.

On arrival, the incoming May Queen will be crowned by the outgoing Queen (Paulina), before the celebrations continue with folk and country dancing from the younger children and maypole ribbon-plaiting dances with the older children.

Meanwhile, more intricate patterns will be woven round the pole by the experienced dancers of the parish known as the 'Old Scholars'.

Country dancers in action. Photo: Nadine Grummitt.

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The spokeswoman added: "Traditional English flowers are a key part of the May Day celebrations.

"A bunch of hawthorn (mayflower) is tied around the maypole before the festivities start.

"Flowers are also used to decorate hoops, the adult dancers carry wooden arches decorated with flowers, and the May Queen’s trailer is also bedecked with greenery.

The Old Scholars. Photo: Nadine Grummitt.

"In addition, some of the children taking part wear coloured dresses to represent buttercups, daisies, violets, forget-me-nots, rosebuds and mayflowers, and they take part in the crowning ceremony."

Home-made refreshments will be available from Ickwell Village Hall, which will be open from 11am, while across the arena from the maypole will be a number of stalls, selling items from jewellery and crafts to sweets and bric-a-brac.

Free parking is available.

A seat in the arena costs £2 for adults and £1 for children.

For more more information click here