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Grand Marshal Andy Wilson reflects on May Days past

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May Day Grand Marshal and City Councilor Andy Wilson stand by the May Day banner in his front yard. Wilson has said he is proud to serve as grand marshal and is grateful for the efforts of this year’s organizers.

May Day’s grand marshal this year will be long-time resident and City Councilor Andy Wilson, and he said he is looking forward to a successful May Day both this weekend and in the future.

Having moved to Vader on a permanent basis in 1963, Wilson said he has seen May Day evolve from when its founder, Lena DeAger, was still organizing the festival, after having begun the annual tradition in 1952.

“She had a lot of people that was helping her,” he said of DeAger’s ability to organize volunteers. “She did work hard.”

Wilson said he and his wife had been able to help lead the event themselves in the 1980s, and remained supportive when Diana Trahanes, DeAger’s daughter, took over in 1991. Now Trahanes’ daughter, Janet Charlton, is leading May Day after Trahanes’ passing in 2012, and Wilson said Chalrton has been doing a good job given the challenges involved.

“I appreciate her efforts in helping,” said Wilson, acknowledging the difficulty in organizing such an event in a short time span.

Until last month, it has been expected May Day would be cancelled due to a lack of available volunteers to lead the event, however Charlton announced March 31 she would be making sure the event continued, allowing Vader again to be the kickoff point of Lewis County’s summer festival season.

“I want to see it keep going,” said Wilson of the festival, having himself stepped forward at one point this year to lead volunteers, but medical concerns cause him to step down. Wilson said he has had experience in the past leading May Day, stating he and his wife were able to help DeAger plan the festival in the 1980s. He said his advice to whomever picks up the May Day torch for 2015 is to begin planning for next year as soon as this year’s event is over.

But May Day 2014 is still on the horizon, and Wilson said, if tradition holds true, Vader will be spared from springtime showers for just long enough to have a great time.

“We’ve had an awful lot of good luck with the weather,” he said.

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