Lynn Sheffield Simmons: Argyle appreciates assistance with spring community event

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Greta Garrett/Courtesy photo
In this photo from May 1, 1938, Argyle third-graders are shown holding ribbons from a Maypole during Mayfest at what is now known as Quakertown Park in Denton.

The Place is Argyle

The Argyle High School parking lot was filled recently with parents talking to neighbors, children carrying Easter baskets, youngsters having their faces painted, customers buying from vendors and people listening to live entertainment.

It all began at 8 a.m. with the Easter Bunny attending the pancake breakfast sponsored by the Argyle Lions Club, and according to Argyle Town Manager Charles West, Argyle’s spring community event was a big success.

“I want to thank all the vendors, the Argyle churches and the Lions Club who helped to make it possible,” West said. “I also want to thank the Argyle ISD for use of their facilities and providing assistance, the Crime Control Prevention Board for their help and Mike Sizelove for letting us use his flatbed trailer for the entertainment stage.”

Days Gone By

On May 1, 1938, Argyle third-graders took a train to Denton to go to Mayfest at what is now Quarkertown Park.

The children grabbed a ribbon attached to the top of the Maypole and walked around the pole. Among the children attending were J.M. Harpole, Mary Tom Owens, Alice Maloy, Rebecca Smith, Gilbert Mays, Rose Ina Stewart, Roy Ballentine, Greta Wood, Billy Alred, Jo Littrell and Alta Jean Hossey.

Traditionally, the first of May is celebrated in European countries, Canada and some sections of the United States with a Mayfest. This is a festival to welcome spring and to bid farewell to winter.

The May Day celebration began when villagers, both young and old, went to the countryside to gather armloads of wild flowers, flowering shrubs and trees. They would return to the center of the village to make a Maypole.

The Maypole was a high pole used year after year for this particular festival. The villagers would decorate the pole with garlands of flowers. Then they would hang long, brightly colored ribbons from the pole for the May dance that would conclude the activities of the day.

Flowers and branches not used to decorate the Maypole were carried throughout the village and given as gifts to teachers, those who were ill, the elderly and beloved family members. This act of giving and sharing floral offerings was a vital part of the celebration.

In some parts of the United States, May baskets are made for May 1. These small baskets, made out of colored paper and filled with flowers or treats, would then be left at someone’s doorstep. The basket giver would knock on the door or ring the doorbell and then run away. The person receiving the basket would try to catch the fleeing giver. If they caught the person, a kiss was exchanged.

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is founder and past president of the North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of 10 children’s books and two history books on Argyle. Her website is www.ArgyleBooks.com she can be reached at Lynn@argylebooks.com.


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