In May of 1998, the Madison Downtown Development Commission spearheaded the first May Day in Madison. Residents, businesses, organizations and civic groups came out to participate in what has become an annual town wide clean-up. Streets and parks are cleaned, trash is removed, flowers are planted and truckloads of mulch are spread each spring during this townwide beautification event.

The Downtown Development Commission is hard at work planning this year’s event, scheduled for Saturday, May 5 and hosted in conjunction with the May Day Committee.

Approximately 200 volunteers participated in the first May Day 20 years ago. In recent years, that number has grown exponentially over time. Now, approximately 1,000 volunteers have participated at more than 40 work sites.

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Planning is underway for exclusive May Day events that will commemorate the 20th anniversary of this cherished, all-volunteer project. Volunteers and area residents can attend special presentations and an after-party featuring local food and music.

May Day brings unique volunteer opportunities for all ages. Small children can be found working side-by side with borough council members while employees from the Department of Public Works move mountains of mulch. Local university students help service club members beautify the Madison Train Station. Senior citizens may be found delivering water to thirsty volunteers or mulching in the parks.

Funds are again being raised through mail-based donations. Envelopes have been sent to every household.

Sponsorships have been sought to cover the cost of the volunteer t-shirts and the purchase of more than 200 flower baskets that adorn the Victorian lampposts in the downtown area each year from May through October, adding color to the streetscape.  

The first Saturday in May is a day of great community and civic pride for Madison, said Lisa Ellis, the borough’s director of business development and Downtown Development Commission member.

All those who wish to donate should make checks payable to the Borough of Madison and mail them to the Downtown Development Commission - May Day, Hartley Dodge Memorial, 50 Kings Road, Madison, NJ 07940. 

For more information on available volunteer opportunities, contact the Commission at or call 201-400-2349.

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