May Fete vs. May Fite

May Fete dancers, 1923

May Fete dancers, 1923

Before Rondelet, Rice Institute students had the May Fete. The first event in 1921 featured Rice’s royal court, a dramatic interpretation of a poem by Henry van Dyke written at the opening of Rice, a royal procession, a Maypole dance, and a special dance for the court.

May Fete King Jim Nance crowns Queen Mildred O'Riordan, 1938

May Fete King Jim Nance crowns Queen Mildred O’Riordan, 1938

In 1924, because men had not been part of the royal court, they instead created May Fite. During this event, the Rice men created a “clever farcical parody” of the original (The Thresher, April 8, 1927). Although this Fite did not have as much longevity or consistency as Fete, it was no less grand. In 1931, the men playing flower girls threw onions instead of flowers, and the campus’ largest man was the queen.

May Fite in action in front of Administration Building, 1933

May Fite in action in front of Administration Building, 1933

May Fite finale, 1933

May Fite finale, 1933

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