Kaytlynn Kuder held the purple ribbon tightly in her hand.
Once the music began, she focused on skipping her legs and winding carefully between the other fifth-grade girls. In a few minutes, the colors of the May Poles were wound, continuing the tradition that has been part of All Schools Day since the 1930s.
She was finally fulfilling a goal she had for many years.
“It always looked so cool when you're really little, and all the older girls are doing that, and you're like, 'I want to do that,” she said.
Kuder, a Roosevelt Elementary School student, was one of about 30 fifth-grade girls from McPherson County schools to participate in the event this year.
Others involved were Zoe Vontz, Jayden Donaldson, Ariana Potter, Megan Grieb, Sydney Myers, Raegan Harger, Brittani Burgess, Megan Maltbie, Katelyn Guffey, Anna Nason, Shelby Bontrager, Nicole Winsky, Hope Williams, Taylor Bruce, Lakyn Schieferecke, Josie Strathman, Kaylie May, J'Cee Metcalf, Maegan Vincent, Kelbi Turner and Skyler Einfeldt.
The girls practiced for over a month and the Lakeside Park Bandshell, where they performed Wednesday. They will do it again tonight at 7 p.m. at McPherson High School.
“It looks a lot easier than it is,” Kathy Hawkinson, coordinator, said. “They come with the thought that it will be easier to do, and with the first few practices, they realize how hard it actually is.”
Brittani Burgess of Roosevelt said she is proud of the performance the girls made.
“When we first started, we didn't know what we were doing, and now it looks really good,” she said.
Kuder said she enjoyed learning as a group.
“We all get to bond together while we were practicing, and it just ends up looking really, really cool,” she said.
Hawkinson, who has been coordinating the winding of the May Pole for 14 years, is happy with their progress this year.
“The girls get nervous about whether they can do it or not, but every Wednesday and Thursday of May Fete, they always do the best they've ever done,” she said. “It's really nice being able to continue the tradition. It's awesome to have people, the elderly especially, to watch the girls and say how well they looked that night.”
After the May Fete royalty were announced and the May Pole was wound, a number of area students performed at the bandshell. Groups included McPherson Sonshine Preschool, Inman High School cheerleaders, McPherson Arts Council Children's Choir, Spencer Suzuki Strings, McPherrson Just Dance!, Marquette Cloggers, Moundridge Angel Feet Dance, Inman Junior High cheerleaders, McPherson High School Color Guard, Elyria Christian School, Canton-Galva High School cheerleaders, Tamara Howe School of Dance, McPherson Black Belt Academy Leadership Team, Inman High School Shockwaves, Canton-Galva Middle School cheerleaders, McPherson High School cheerleaders and the McPherson Gymnastics Club.
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