Drumheller Valley to hold Mayday Celebration

Drumheller Valley celebrates its mining centennial with its first Mayday celebration in decades.
The Mayday Festival will take place April 30 - May 1. Activities planned for Drumheller and the nearby communities of East Coulee and Wayne include a Mayday Parade, street festival and ghost walks, Atlas Coal Mine tours, children's activities, Centennial Fruit Dance, guided mine ruin tours and a night of miner music. Coal in the Valley, a new book on the area's mining history will also be launched.
Mayday was a big deal in the valley where 139 coal mines once operated. Hundreds of men would march in the Miners' Parade, the main Mayday event in Drumheller.  Everyone who worked at the mines had the day off and a giant picnic hosted by the unions would take place in Drumheller's Newcastle Park. The event became so popular that children would skip school to attend. Eventually, Mayday became an official school holiday in Drumheller.
"Today, most people think of Drumheller as Dinosaur Valley, but our roots are really in coal mining", says Linda Digby, the executive director at the Atlas Coal Mine, a national historic site dedicated to preserving the coalmining history of the area. "Even geologist Joseph Tyrrell, after whom the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is named, was in the area mapping coal seams when he stumbled upon dinosaur bones. The Drumheller Valley Mining Centennial gives the entire valley an opportunity to collectively celebrate its colourful mining heritage with special events planned from May-November to honour the men who dug the black."
More Mayday Festival information and links are found at www.atlascoalmine.ab.ca  The Drumheller Valley is part of the Canadian Badlands, a massive tourism region encompassing 90,000 square kilometres of southeastern Alberta, www.canadianbadlands.com