Recipes: How to throw a festive May Day brunch

Celebrate spring the Serenbe way

Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney

What a wonderful way to ring in spring! The modern hamlet of Serenbe marks the beginning of the season on the first Sunday in May with a traditional celebration featuring dancing, flowers, and brunch. May Day festivals date to pagan times and are celebrated around the world. Serenbe’s founder, Steve Nygren, grew up in a farming community in Colorado, where they celebrated May Day as the start of the planting season. He wanted to bring the bucolic village a taste of the charming festivities, including dancing around the May pole.

Serenbe held its first May Day party on the Selborne Green in 2006. For the past three years, Kristen Genet, a former film set designer (and Serenbe resident), has helped bring a colorful dose of whimsy to the kid-friendly event, combining food, fun, and outdoor play.

Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney

The May pole is erected the week of the festival and then decorated with streaming ribbons and topped with a floral wreath. The signature welcome comes when the children of Serenbe, clad in white, perform a choreographed dance that includes winding the colorful ribbons around the pole.

One of the loveliest new Serenbe traditions is the “wish field.” Everyone is invited to write a wish on a colorful paper circle. The tags are then affixed to bamboo sticks and placed in a verdant field alongside the festival, creating a vibrant field of dreams.

Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney

May Day at Serenbe is no small affair, with 30 street vendors including artists, makers, food trucks, and a beer garden. The Bubble Man creates life-size bubbles, and a chalk artist creates a new mural each year on Arts Hill.

Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney
Serenbe May Day
Photograph by Patrick Heagney

The festival is open to the public, but here’s a peek at a VIP brunch for special friends: Serenbe chef Matt Adolfi serves biscuits, quiche, cinnamon buns, granola, and mimosas in delicate vintage glassware—an assortment of savory and sweet items to be nibbled and sipped while mingling outdoors in the sunshine. $5, May 6, noon to 5 p.m., serenbe.com

The menu:

  1. Buttermilk Biscuits
  2. Herb Quiche
  3. Coconut Granola
  4. Maple Pecan Cinnamon Buns