Note to readers: May Day, while traditionally representing the coming of spring, associated with hanging of flower baskets and maypole dancing, has also been the most important calendar day of the year for communists, socialists, and anarchists. In European countries, China and other parts of the world, May Day, the first day in May, is a holiday to celebrate workers and labor unions.   In 1956 Gov. Walter J. Kohler declared April 29 to be the official May Day-U.S.A. Way in Wisconsin, and designated River Falls as the city for official patriotic celebrations and America’s answer to Communism. (Remember these were the days of McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee.) A mighty celebration was planned -- a great Freedom Parade with over 75 bands, drum corps, marching units and floats along with a Navy helicopter from Wold-Chamberlain Field to hover and give directions to the four divisions of the parade, banquets, dignitaries, politicians, flower pageants, flag displays on most homes and a large hillside flag on the mound north of town, newly naturalized citizens given certificates, and special church services held. Because there were to be so many visitors in town Fire Chief Robert Aide asked that burning of rubbish, grass, etc., be kept to a minimum; Police Chief Glen Young asked cars to be kept off of Main Street, and an appeal for temporary housing for visitors was announced. Some of the distinguished visitors were to include Wisconsin Acting Governor and Mrs. Warren Knowles, Senator and Mrs. Alexander Wiley, Assemblymen William Bergeron, Mamre Ward, A.B. Rewald and Walter Calvert; Brigadier General E.L. Carmichael and his wife; Episcopalian Bishop Horstick; Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman, State Veterans Administrator Harvey V. Higley; the Alonzo Cudworth Male Chorus of Milwaukee, and Twin Cities newscaster Bill Ingram. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, being cold and dismal, but the program carried on, with state police estimating the crowd at well over 10,000.  --Pat Hunter, Archivist

 Note to readers: May Day, while traditionally representing the coming of spring, associated with hanging of flower baskets and maypole dancing, has also been the most important calendar day of the year for communists, socialists, and anarchists. In European countries, China and other parts of the world, May Day, the first day in May, is a holiday to celebrate workers and labor unions. In 1956 Gov. Walter J. Kohler declared April 29 to be the official May Day-U.S.A. Way in Wisconsin, and designated River Falls as the city for official patriotic celebrations and America’s answer to Communism. (Remember these were the days of McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee.)A mighty celebration was planned -- a great Freedom Parade with over 75 bands, drum corps, marching units and floats along with a Navy helicopter from Wold-Chamberlain Field to hover and give directions to the four divisions of the parade, banquets, dignitaries, politicians, flower pageants, flag displays on most homes and a large hillside flag on the mound north of town, newly naturalized citizens given certificates, and special church services held.Because there were to be so many visitors in town Fire Chief Robert Aide asked that burning of rubbish, grass, etc., be kept to a minimum; Police Chief Glen Young asked cars to be kept off of Main Street, and an appeal for temporary housing for visitors was announced.Some of the distinguished visitors were to include Wisconsin Acting Governor and Mrs. Warren Knowles, Senator and Mrs. Alexander Wiley, Assemblymen William Bergeron, Mamre Ward, A.B. Rewald and Walter Calvert; Brigadier General E.L. Carmichael and his wife; Episcopalian Bishop Horstick; Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman, State Veterans Administrator Harvey V. Higley; the Alonzo Cudworth Male Chorus of Milwaukee, and Twin Cities newscaster Bill Ingram.Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, being cold and dismal, but the program carried on, with state police estimating the crowd at well over 10,000. --Pat Hunter, Archivist

 

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