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Annapolis Filled with Color and Crowds for May Day

By Steve Adams 

As they have for 66 years, businesses and homes throughout downtown Annapolis said goodbye to April showers and hello to May flowers by decorating their doors and windows with big, bold baskets of fresh-cut flowers and colorful ribbons on Saturday, May 1—May Day.  

Hosted by the Garden Club of Old Annapolis Towne, the 1956 beautification project-turned-annual tradition drew hundreds of visitors to stroll the streets, from Main Street and Market Space to West Street and Maryland Ave., and snap dozens of photos of their favorite displays. It helped that May Day fell on one of the year’s best-weather weekends. 

The crowds included locals and visitors alike, from annual attendees to first-timers. 

Marlene and Roger Juba of Severna Park, told CBM Bay Weekly, “It’s been great to see so many more people out and so many more flowers than last year,” (including their favorite, a six-foot display at 134 Prince, the new luxury boutique hotel on Prince George Street). Longtime friends Miranda Williams and Tracy Sanders enjoyed meeting up for the umpteenth year and taking in what they deemed “our favorite downtown Annapolis tradition.” Their favorite flowers? The coronavirus-themed display, featuring Corona Extra beer bottles and the red corona-spiked virions that illustrate the virus, at Cezanne Jewelers on the corner of Maryland Ave. and State Circle. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Chris and Kerry from Cincinnati, picked May Day weekend for their inaugural trip to Annapolis, in large part due to the baskets they knew they’d see, and enjoyed posing beside the display on the Naval Academy’s Main Gate.  

There were some new Main Street businesses joining the celebration as well. Sue Gauthier and Sarah Bender held a soft opening for the second location of their store, The Cottage, during the event. “We’ve been looking forward to opening our doors all spring and we just so happen to have a former florist on our staff, so joining in the celebration and participating in May Day was perfect timing,” said Bender. 

And while ongoing COVID-19 restrictions prevented the first ladies of Annapolis (first lady of Maryland Yumi Hogan, first lady of Anne Arundel County Erin Pittman, City of Annapolis first lady Julie Buckley, and Joanne Buck, the wife of Vice Admiral Sean Buck, U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent) from completing the tradition of bestowing blue ribbons upon the best displays and drinking tea with their owners, they enjoyed their tour and the sense of emerging optimism in the air. 

“This is such a wonderful tradition and symbol of the start of spring in Annapolis,” Mrs. Hogan told Bay Weekly after posing for a picture in front of Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs. “It’s also a great symbol of healing, especially this year, and I’m thankful that so many people in our community came together and worked together to make Annapolis a colorful place.” 

Perhaps the single most colorful spot was in front of Gallery 57 West, where passersby viewed gallery artists’ oversized paper flower arrangements and painted their own flowers on two large canvases to be auctioned off during the First Sunday Arts Festival on May 2.  

After a year like no other, it was a May Day to remember. Find more photos on social media using #maydayannapolis2021, #66thannapolismayday, and #MayDayonWestSt.