May Day parade attracts notice of APD ***UPDATED WITH PHOTO GALLERY***

A band of brightly clad people, many with their faces painted, gathered at Pack Square in downtown Asheville around 1:15 p.m. this afternoon to celebrate May Day. They came with musicial instruments, bikes, hula hoops and water balloons. One had a sign that read, “Quit Work / Join Us,” and another waved a double-sided flag proclaiming “No Bosses” on one side and “No Slaves” on the other. Several people scaled the Vance Monument and wound streamers around it in maypole fashion. According to one bystander, one of them later dragged an orange construction barrier into the middle of the intersection and the group proceeded to have a water-balloon fight in the street.

With more joining in, the gathering then turned into an unpermitted parade that wound through the streets of downtown Asheville — and attracted the notice of the Asheville Police Department. By the time the string of musicians and dancers had proceeded down College Street, turned on Rankin Avenue, wound around the Civic Center and continued down Haywood Street, the march was being escorted by at least three police cars. Using a megaphone, APD officers warned the ragtag crowd to stay out of the street. At least six police cars, including a police-transport van, pulled onto Page Avenue and blocked off the street when the group amassed there in front of the Grove Arcade. At that point, one participant was handcuffed and led into the prisoner-transport van. By 3 p.m., all the excitement seemed to have died down.

Click on the link below to see a video of participants playing music in front of the Vance monument, where the afternoon’s chaos began.

Click here to see a photo gallery.

— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor


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19 thoughts on “May Day parade attracts notice of APD ***UPDATED WITH PHOTO GALLERY***

  1. travelah

    Good job, APD (for once). Now, everybody can know what Asheville’s Democrats do while teh rest of us are working :)

  2. Looks like fun!
    Wish I could have been there – instead of at work. ;-)

    Trav –
    I think that is awfully disrespectful to both the APD and the Democrats of Asheville.

  3. travelah

    Ha! I would think any self respecting Democrat in Asheville would lock arms with such a spirited gathering.

  4. I’m just saying – as a liberal independent – while I would have been there for the sheer May merriment, you insinuated that the Dem’s of Asheville don’t work.

  5. travelah

    JBo, don’t take everything with such seriousness. What I stated was done with tongue in cheek. I thought perhaps the smiley would have been a clue but if not, my apologies for being the offense.

  6. Gulahiyi

    Solidarity with workers? Really????


  7. tom

    as a participant i can say a significant portion of the parade do do not believe in/ participate in the electoral process. May Day is about direct democracy, not the shame of two party politricks.

  8. spartan

    If the ‘band’ perhaps spent more time practicing, i might be interested in joining the party. sheesh!

    but! I will say it’s nice to see a bit of asheville flair rearing it’s chaotic head downtown once again. Where’s the good Sherriff Medford and his Sawed-off shotgun when you need him?

    why was the ONE person arrested? Was his hat illegal? He used to serve me ice-cream at the marble slab!

  9. Angela Becker

    The Asheville police should’ve cleared these hooligans out immediately. They obviously don’t work, so why “celebrate” May Day,a communist holiday anyway? Let these ne’er-do-wells move to Cuba.

  10. m0untainrebel

    You know Angela Becker, a lot of people who have jobs take the day off on May Day, hence it being a workers holiday. Take all the port workers on the west coast, for example, who went on strike today to protest the war in Iraq (see

    All those folks obviously don’t have jobs either, and they should just move to Cuba too, huh?

  11. jen

    you the usa..almost everyday of the entire year is some sort of holiday. it’s quite silly.

  12. m0untainrebel

    I really don’t know for sure, and it’s kind of hard to verify, but I’d imagine that millions and millions of Americans take May Day very seriously, most of them working class who belong to unions, and immigrants. Snoddy rich people here don’t realize it, but in many other countries May Day is an official government holiday where nobody goes to work (ironic, considering May Day as a worker’s holiday was started in Chicago when the police framed anarchist organizers). Almost no one who isn’t working class or class-conscious in this country celebrates May Day, so likely no one you know.

  13. travelah

    mountainrebel, you are a funny guy. I grew up in a hardcore Teamster household and May 1 was never a holiday. In fact it was considered a communist holiday.

  14. Mayday commemmorates the Haymarket massacre which was a watershed American event in early 20th century unionism in Chicago, in addition to being a prehistoric pagan fertility ritual. It may be celebrated primarily outside America, but it commemorates a piece of Amercan history making it an American holiday.

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