An early 20th century spring ice cream social at Carleton became a May festival on the lawn of Gridley Hall dorm on May 22 of 1909, with Maypole dancing, Glee Club singing and the crowning of a May Queen. Over the next half a century, entertainment was added to the celebration in the form of plays, dances, operettas and other extravaganzas which drew thousands of people to Carleton’s Lyman Lakes to enjoy the spectacle.

On Thursday, May 25, at 6:30 pm, local historian and writer Susan Hvistendahl will tell the story of this festival at the Northfield Historical Society, in conjunction with its current exhibit “Hometown Ties: Carleton Celebrates 150 Years with Northfield” which runs through June.

A video will be shown of what became known as “the most beautiful and impressive event of its kind in the northwest.” Featured are scenes from elaborate pageants such as “Sigurd the Volsung” of 1924, with green-haired mermaids, a Viking boat, a chariot drawn by two goats and a snowflake ballet of 125 dancers accompanied by members of the Minneapolis Symphony.

Refreshments will be served.