Home News and Features All Species Day 2023:‘Interdependence with All of Life’

All Species Day 2023:‘Interdependence with All of Life’

Dancing on the Statehouse lawn at All Species Day 2022. Photo by John Lazenby.
All Species Day organizers invite you to come dressed as your favorite creature and celebrate life with song, dance, and puppet pageantry on Sunday, April 30 from 12 to 4 p.m. in Montpelier, where community members gather to honor the natural world. 

All Species Day celebrates the birth of spring with festivities such as a costume parade beginning at Hubbard Park and a spring pageant at the Statehouse lawn. The event features maypole dancing, drumming, larger-than-life puppets, and a ceremony between the Stag King and the Spring Goddess, whose union symbolizes “fertility and fruitfulness” according to AllTogetherNow! co-founder and All Species Day organizer Janice Walrafen. It is only fitting that the seasonal ceremony culminates beneath the statue of the Roman agriculture goddess Ceres. 

The day starts with an opening circle in the Hubbard Park soccer field (below the Old Shelter) at noon. At 1:15 p.m., all species are called to join the parade line-up at the park entrance to welcome the arrival of the Stag King, who will lead the procession of costumed participants from the park, down Main and State streets. By 2:30 p.m., the All Species Day parade arrives at the Statehouse lawn for the Birth of Spring Pageant. 

This year’s event is held in partnership with AllTogetherNow! and Montpelier Alive, the mission of which is to celebrate the city of Montpelier. 

“Montpelier Alive always looks for ways to support downtown celebrations and festivals. AllTogetherNow! does a number of events throughout the year and we enjoy working together to create a vibrant downtown and strong community,” said Montpelier Alive Executive Director Katie Trautz.

Earlier this month, Janice Walrafen led an All Species Day workshop at AllTogetherNow! Community Arts Center to help with the repair and making of puppets, costumes, and masks. 

On April 27, AllTogetherNow! and Montpelier Alive will host a dance rehearsal from 10 to 10:40 a.m. at the Capital City Grange on Route 12, where attendees learn and practice All Species Day dance routines, such as samba for the parade, as well as yemahah and congo for the pageant. 

The Montpelier-based film and video production company Well Told Films presents a cinematic story of the All Species Day event on Vimeo, which is available through ‘Seasonal Celebrations’ on AllTogetherNow’s website, where organizer Janice Walrafen described the tradition of All Species Day and said, “honoring all of life gives us life, this is our way of giving back with celebration and gratitude.”

On Apr. 29, the pageant rehearsal begins at the Hubbard Park Soccer Field from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.. The rehearsal continues from 1 to 3 p.m. with the Birth of Spring pageant dance practices, as well as the Flower Children’s Dance and Songs. From 3 to 4 p.m., the Maypole Dance is practiced on the Statehouse lawn.

Puppeteers and volunteers are still needed for the event and are encouraged to contact alltogethernowvt.org. For more information about the event, go here.