Queensborough resident Manha Rishard will serve as New Westminster’s 151st May Queen.
Manha, whose name was selected during a random draw on the steps of city hall on Sunday, May 1, will be crowned May Queen at this year’s May Day event. Attendees at Sunday’s ceremony included Manha’s family, including her older brother Nadir, who was Queensborough Middle School’s Royal Knight in the 149th May Queen Suite in 2019.
Twelve local kids will participate in this year’s May Queen Suite for May Day, including Manha and Royal Consort Kai Harrison.
Other members of the 2022 May Queen Suite include: 1st Maid of Honour – Sofia La Roy; 2nd Maid of Honour – Ava Wiegand; Medal Bearer – Catalina Pagnotta; Register Bearer – Sophia Donschenko; 1st Flower Girl – Georgia Orchard; 2nd Flower Girl – Sevilla Lenahan; 3rd Flower Girl – Adelle Cupit; 4th Flower Girl – Ella Suffron; 5th Flower Girl – Cordelia Hardwick; and 6th Flower Girl – Reaghan Bruce.
“We are very excited about all the amazing children who are part of New Westminster’s 151st Royal Suite,” said Nikki Binns, president of the New Westminster May Day Community Association. “We are happy to have the COVID-19 May Day hiatus behind us, which resulted in skipping one year in the longstanding process.”
The selection of the 2022 Royal Suite differed from past May Days, which included peer voting in schools followed by a random draw at city hall to determine each of the public schools’ positions in the Royal Suite.
With the school district no longer involved in May Day, the May Day Association has taken on the role of organizing the event.
Community members, including Binns, acting Mayor Jaimie McEvoy and 1975 May Queen Kathy (Gifford) Glassie, randomly drew the names of the positions in the Royal Suite. The draw was open to Grade 5 and 6 students in New Westminster.
This year’s Royal Suite includes two new additional roles for local kids.
“There’s extra flower girls,” Binns told the Record. “It just was the way we decided to do it this year – just because we have had COVID over the last two years and we hadn’t been able to do anything, really. We thought we would give everybody a chance to participate.”
The May Day Association is optimistic that interest in May Day will increase as people realize it’s still being offered, even though schools are no longer involved, and as COVID-19 concerns diminish.
“We just hope that everyone will come out and enjoy the event,” Binns said. “We are happy that we can host an event this year.”
May Day 2022 is on Saturday, May 28 at Queen’s Park Stadium, with doors opening at 3 p.m. and the ceremony beginning at 3:30 p.m. In addition to the crowning of the May Queen, the event will include may pole and folk dances.
Instruction in the dances is currently underway, but space is still available for children who are interested. The may pole dances are open to children in grades 4, 5 and 6 and the folk dances are open to children in grades 2 and 3.
Information about May Day 2022, including times, locations and registration instructions for may pole and folk dancing, is available at www.nwmayday.com.