Why this year's MayDay Parade in Minneapolis could be the last

The theatre group that runs it is making cuts, and needs help if it's to continue.
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This year's MayDay Parade in Minneapolis could be the last, after the organization that runs it announced it will "significantly reduce" its operations in 2019.

In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) says its 45th MayDay Parade scheduled for May 5 will be the final year that it will solely produce.

The theatre group says the popular celebration, which drew 60,000 people to the Powderhorn Park area last year, brings in about $150,000 in income for the organization, but costs between $180,000-$200,000 to produce.

If the parade is to continue in the future, HOBT says that it will need help as it "can no longer afford to take on these risks alone."

The announcement about MayDay comes amid wider cuts at the group, which will also see a reduction in staff and programming.

If these cuts weren't made, HOBT said it would run out of cash and have to close as soon as June.

"This has been a difficult process," Executive Director Corrie Zoll said in a statement. 

"After a lot of hard work, we determined that we simply cannot continue on our current path. Our neighbors and allies have been the most important part of HOBT’s work over the past 45 years, and we will include you in conversations about what happens next. 

"Whatever the future brings, we want the important work we have built together to continue to be of value to our neighbors."

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Programs that will still go on as planned this year include Puppet Lab performances scheduled for March 15-16 and 21-22, as well as planned residencies in schools, places of worship and other community centers.

It will also present Puppet Cabaret on Valentine's Day, and will continue to share the Avalon Theater at 1500 Lake Street – which it owns – as a rental venue for other events and performances.

HOBT has held the MayDay celebration every year since 1975 on the first Sunday of May in south Minneapolis.

It's still looking for help – both financial and volunteering – for this year's parade, as well as for the general future of the organization. You can find more on how to help here.

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