At the beginning of the 17th century morris dancing was done by the working class over much of England. After the English Civil War almost all forms of festive expression were suppressed by the new puritanical rulers. Celebrations could only be held if approved by civil and church authorities. With the return of the crown in the person of Charles II the folk of England were once again freed to celebrate springtime in large gatherings known as ``ales.'' These ales resembled modern county fairs and drew participants from all over a shire. They were held on Whitsunday partly in celebration of the birthday of Charles II. One of the sports at the ales was morris dancing with competitions between the many local teams. The Whitsun celebrations persisted for over two centuries until the social change caused by the industrial revolution finally ended them.
Here is the schedule of the touring:
1:00 - 2:30 Dancing at the Lighthouse Field: Show Dances and massed dances for all who will. 3:00 - 4:00 Pacific Garden Mall: we'll "spiral out" to three spots on the downtown Santa Cruz Pacific Ave; there are free municipal parking lots and ramps abounding. 4:30 - 5:30 Reshuffling combinations of teams, we'll go up the hill to Felton Commons (Covered Bridge) and Hallcrest Vinyards for a cheerful hour, and then mill up the hill a little more, to 6:00 pm Dinner at Boulder Creek Brewing Company A perennial favorite; we can dance and sing there, too!Teams which will be particpating and their home towns:
Seabright Morris Santa Cruz Berkeley Morris Berkeley Mayfield Morris and Sword Palo Alto Deer Creek Morris Men Palo Alto Fools' Choice Morris Palo Alto White Rat's Morris San Francisco Monarch Grove Morris Santa Barbara Red Tail Morris San Francisco Bangors & Mash Berkeley Purple Sage San Francisco Swords of Gridlock Berkeley Emperor Norton's Berkeley Stomp 'n' Jingle East BayAll performances are open to the public with no fee for attendance.