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2013 Centennial

1928 May Fete and Spring Festival

By Mark Timbrook
Typed by Alyson Parrill and Abby Langehaug

The tradition of the May Fete and accompanying Spring Festival originated with the 1915 Crane administration at the State Normal School in Minot. The May Fete was hosted, designed, and performed by the students, faculty, and staff of the State Normal School at Minot. It was a celebration of spring, an ending of the academic year, and recognition of the special relationship shared with the Training School. The Spring Festival was an event sponsored by the Training School. It was an opportunity for the girls with the highest academic record to perform and receive recognition. Most girls made their own costumes at home or in the home economic classes.

In 1928, the State Normal School at Minot hosted the largest combined May Fete and Spring Festival in the institution’s history—The Twilight of the Norse Gods. The school invited students form Mayville and Valley City to perform along with their own students. In total, approximately 450 girls and women merged on the ellipse of Old Main to perform acts and skits from the past. There was also a stunt show and a field and track event. Thousands of people from across the state attended.

The accompanying video captures some of the action from this spectacular cultural event. The most prominent event captured were the nine May Poles on the campus ellipse. Miss Louise Reishus, the event coordinator is briefly caught on film in her white attire and white cloche hat. Also captured are the campus grounds, Old Main, Pioneer Hall, the old Training School, and a barren North Hill in the background.

Annual May Fete Dramatizes Norse Mythology to Large, Responsive Crowd
Never before in the history of the college has the annual May Fete attracted such a large and responsive audience as did the one given on the college campus Tuesday evening. Perhaps it was the title “The Twilight of the Norse Gods” that awakened the interest in the many Norwegian citizens who assembled in the early evening to witness the mythology of their forefathers as it was revealed in dance and pantomime by 450 girls of the Physical Education Department. When the opening hour, 6:30, arrived the bleachers were packed and all the available standing room was taken by visitors who had come from surrounding communities to view this annual event.

Fate of Past Revealed
The entire Fete was a result of the three Norns who sat spinning the Fate of the past. It opened in a picturesque way of depicting the conflict of mist and darkness against fire and heat. From this conflict the gods and their enemies, the Frost Giants were created and these forming a processional wended their way to their home, Asgard.

Thru effective group dancing, Man and Woman were then created from the Ash tree and the Elm by the raindrops. The sun, moon, starts, day, and night, winds in characteristic costumes were created. The earth dwarfs with a very impressive dance tripped into the take upon themselves the task of holding down the four corners of the earth and at the same time dance their way into the hearts of all the people by means of their appropriate costumes and graceful rhythm.

Then followed the mermaids and the gods building the rainbow reaching from the earth to Asgard. A most beautiful picture was this part of the Fete with the many poles wound by 150 gaily dressed girls in gay costumes. It took nine poles to build this huge rainbow of the gods with 16 girls to each pole. The winding which took place simultaneously showed much skill obtained only thru continued and persistent practice.

Norse Myths
Helene Wallace as Sif in a graceful and pleasing dance displays the beauty of her long golden hair. She falls asleep and Loki, the mischief maker, cuts off her hair. Bertha Larson as Loki gave the audience a true representation of the mischief maker. Her quick yet sly movements made one wonder if it were not really the god come to life once more.

Thor in characteristic costume now appears and after a most ferocious and furious dance in which his rage is wrought up he punishes Loki. Then with the aid of his team of goats and dwarfs he returns to Sif, her hair more beautiful than before.

Idun with her golden apples is stolen, thru the planning of Loki, by the Frost Giants who express the joy of their accomplishment in a joyous dance. Thru pantomime very well worked out, Odin forces Loki to rescue Idun. He borrows a falcon-guise and escapes with Idun. The Frost Giants follow closely after but the gods prepare a fire which Loki and Idun jumped over. The flames then leaped up and the Frost Giants dared come no further.

Thru more pantomime Thor’s hammer is stolen one day while he is sleeping. Thrym, the king of the Frost Giants, who has the hammer, refuses to return it unless Freyja, the goddess should become his bride. This the gods cannot allow so Thor dresses as a bride and goes in her place. He obtains the hammer and after treating Thrym very roughly portrayed thru a wild and fast dance he slays all the frost giants.

Death of Baldur
Edna Enderson, as Baldur, and Ellen Faulhaber, as Nanna his wife enter Asgard. Baldur is sad as he has had dreams of his future death. But his mother begs all the earth not to hurt Baldur and they promise and present a celebration most typical with its hilarious movement, and colorful effects.

Merna Halvorson as Mistletoe, with much sweet grace, dances before Baldur. Loki hears that she has not promised to hurt Baldur so he places her on the arrow tip of his blind brother and guides his arm while he shoots. Baldur is killed and Nanna, his wife dies of grief. Loki is punished by being tied to a cliff and the Valkyries with their lances and picturesque helmets come to conduct Baldur to Valhalla, the white palace of the happy dead.

To Gertrude Chatfield and Agnes LaFleur go much credit for the success of Part 3. Miss Chatfield appeared as Sigurd and after her brilliant dance during which she displayed her ability with her sword she awakened the beautiful Brunhild, Agnes LaFleur, as she lay sleeping on her couch of moss green. She in a gorgeous gown of Tangerine and white, surrounded by large variety of flowers and the goddesses of fire who watched over her, made an extremely pleasing picture. Upon awaking she joins Sigurd and dances with him.

Thru a series of attractive and well worked out group dances the winds waken the Peacocks, the Flowers, Fairies, Butterflies, and Heroes who each in their turn dance their appreciation. Baldur now arrives in a dignified and difficult dance which he does very gracefully and all is happy in Valhalla.

The Finale
Following the honor dance which is a traditional dance given by the twenty-four girls who have the best general record in the department for the year, all the girls joined in a snake dance. The many different colored costumes weaving in and out made a most fitting closing to the colorful May Fete so well given.

Source: Red & Green, June 5, 1928

Training School Presents its First Spring Campus Festival
Spring was joyously welcomed by the Training School in a charming Spring Festival on the afternoon of May 26. A flower decked fence, gay with bright balloons and ribbon streamers, with a background of the soft grass, green of the trees and the hedge, furnished a delightful setting for the quaint folk who come to welcome the Spirit of Spring in characteristic dance. The festival was under direction of Miss Louise Reishus and James W. Coleman.

The audience, consisting of a great number of eager children and a generous sprinkling of interested adults, made an attractive picture itself, many in bright summer dresses solidly baked on the bleachers erected on the south side of campus for their use.

Welcome to Spring
Marjorie Scott, representing the Spirit of Spring, was dressed in a flowing white robe and graciously presided over the festivities held in her honor by people from every land and clime.

The first to pay court were the delightful little folks from the second grade who did the Clap Dance in realistic Swedish costumes. Calling for entertainment the queen and her court are regaled by a May-pole Dance performed by girls from the high school who seemed a very spirit of spring itself in their apple blossom colors of pink and green.

The ferocious Indian next claimed notice wearing tanned fringed costumes, feathers and beads, The sixth grade welcomed the gentle spring with blood curdling whoops and agile dancing that left no doubt of their joy in her coming.

Next the demure of little people from the land of dikes came to pay their tribute to the lovely Spring. The eighth grade girls in their dainty blue dresses and while aprons and caps and blue windmills to furnish the final touch of Holland were very effective in their dance of greeting.

The bonnie Highland lassies from the fifth grade then appeared in their gay plaids and set the toes of the audience to taping in sympathy with their spirited rhythm.

Their Irish neighbors soon followed. Their Irish lads and their saucy colleens tripping the measure in their characteristic green, with snowy white blouses and aprons by the way of contrast, were from the seventh grade.

The sedately graceful Japanese ladies in their charmingly flowered kimonos with gay fan and parasol were from the fourth grade. With delicacy and grace they paid their tribute to the lovely season of the cherry-blossom.

By way of contrast the virile Russian dancers next appeared with their wild northern welcome. The high school girls performed this dance with a fine understand of the fierce joy with which the Russian people welcome their brief, precious spring season. Their picturesque costumes with twinkling black boots bright full skirts and blouses lent an interesting note to the ensemble.

Stunts Show Skill
Skill and agility of a high order was displayed in the tumbling stunts performed by three of the high school boys. The audience was delighted by their display of talent and shoed its appreciation by sustained and hearty applause after many of the precarious performances.

Track Events
The third part of the program was the Track Events which were watched with interest by the spectators.

The 50 yard dash was won by Henry Molesbery with Billy Hubbard and Rube Hammond taking second and third place.

The 75 yard dash ended with Kenneth Alfstad taking first and Howard Allan second.

The score won in the board jump were:

First group
Henry Molesbery 11-6; Billy Hubbard 11-4; Donald Rausch 11-3.

Second group
Kenneth Alfstad 13-21 ½; Howard Allan 12-11; Charles Scott 12-6.

Third Group
Marvin Filmreite 14-4 ¾.

Much credit is due both Miss Reishus and Mr. Coleman from excellent performance enjoyed so thoroughly by the not inconsiderable audience.

Source: Red & Green, May 22, 1928.