Tuesday, July 03, 2007
May Ball in June
May Balls are huge events at the end of the college year, which go until the end of June. The academic year used to end in May so the event was called May Ball and the name has endured. They are very formal affairs, most being black tie but some require white tie. Very expensive affairs, ranging from from £70 to £170, they last all night, wrapping up around 7:00 a.m. Some end with a ride in a hot air balloon, some end with a breakfast in Paris! We watched them set up for 3 days at the college we're living. They had bumper cars, a gondola ride, a roast pig, and festival-type carts offering popcorn, crepes, and donuts. A weird mix for sure. Dozens of performances, 10 bands, magicians, theatre, and more. There was also a large formal dinner beforehand. The entire college was on lockdown, with bouncers at all entrances. We had to show our ID cards before entering our flat. It was loud all night long, even at 6:00 a.m. The last band quit playing at 7:00.
There are 30 colleges making up Cambridge University and nearly all of them have their own May Ball. One of the colleges spent 1 million pounds on their party! We went to this bridge and looked out over the river to watch the students being 'punted' to the party.
At 10:30 the fireworks go off. Every night that week, we either went down to the bridge or watched from our balcony.
Folks from the bridge watching the last of the fireworks.