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Clymer’s May Day Celebration To Go Virtual

Kate Courtright

CLYMER — While living in the middle of a pandemic, communities are looking for ways to still be able to have traditional events, even if that means virtually with modifications.

Clymer’s traditional May Day celebration will be held virtually this year, on May 14. According to Clymer Central School Superintendent Beth Olson, all of the traditional components of the ceremony that has been put on by the school since 1939 will be preserved in some way.

The main difference is the audience.

“Spectators will be limited to the girls participating in the ceremony … due to current restrictions on public gatherings,” Olson said. “We will be streaming the entire ceremony on our YouTube channel for our students, staff, and community to view virtually.”

In a town such as Clymer, being able to have long-term traditions such as May Day, even if it has to be done differently due to the pandemic, is important for the community — especially when the tradition has meant so much to the town for so long.

Daland Perry

Clymer Central School music teacher Daland Perry is one of the many people who always help with the May Day festivities, playing the keyboard during the winding of the May Pole and helping to provide background music during the rest of the celebration. He added that it used to connect to the town’s Tulip Festival, another tradition that has had to be changed because of the pandemic.

“In recent years the Tulip Festival would happen every other year (on Saturday) and May Day would be every year on a Friday,” Perry said. “It inaugurated a program to revive Holland customs in our predominantly Dutch community.”

For many, whether new to the Clymer community or not, being able to still have a version of one of the town’s traditions shows the ability of the community to come together, even during these difficult times.

“I have learned very quickly how important the May Day tradition is to the Clymer community,” Olson said.

Kate Courtright, a Clymer area resident, described the ceremony as a way to bring togetherness to the town.

Beth Olson

“It’s a day where the whole town, young and old, gets together to carry out a tradition,” Courtright said. “In all of my years being at Clymer, it brings a smile to my face every year because it brings everyone together. Even with Covid, the tradition could still bring the same togetherness and joy that it has brought to the town for many, many years.”

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