Fremont Solstice Parade
The Fremont Solstice Parade is an annual event produced in June by the Fremont Arts Council (FAC), a non-profit organization based in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington that supports the arts and artists in and around the city. It is a Mardi-Gras styled, entirely human powered event that is distinguished from mainstream public parades by its unusual rules. These four rules are 'No written words, signage or recognizable logos; No motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs); no live animals (except guide animals); and no functional weapons. The event appears as a slowly paced music, dance and character procession where direct crowd interaction is encouraged and ensembles of actors in costume entertain with political and social commentary.
The Solstice Parade was founded in 1989 by Barbara Luecke and Peter Toms, and quickly grew to thousands of participants and tens of thousands of spectators. The parade kicks off the Fremont Fair, a benefit for Solid Ground (originally known as the Fremont Public Association). On January 29, 2010, Solid Ground announced that it is turning over ownership of the fair to the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
The parade is famous for its style and flair, political humor, energetic ensembles, and creative floats. It is also widely known for the body-painted Solstice Cyclists, who strip down before the parade and paint their bodies, unofficially starting the event each year. In 2015, the Solstice Cyclists were estimated at over 1500 individuals by Peter Toms, parade co-founder, following the event.
The Fremont Solstice Pageant, a large-scale community play using over a hundred actors, musicians and giant puppets, was performed following the parade from 1997 to 2005 at the end of the parade route at Gas Works Park.
The latest Solstice Parade took place on June 18, 2016.
The event distinguishes itself from other mainstream parades with its unusual rules restricting printed words and motor vehicles. As the Fremont Arts Council states:
- No printed words, signage or recognizable logos.
- No live animals (except guide animals).
- No motorized vehicles (except motorized wheelchairs)
- No functional weapons.
Notes and references
- Cheryl Cobbs, Solid Ground transitions Fremont Fair to Fremont Chamber, Solid Ground Blog, 2010-01-29. Accessed online 2010-01-29.
- "The Fremont Solstice Parade!". Fremont Arts Council. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- "'Warts and all,' Fremont Solstice Parade continues surprises for 20 years". The Seattle Times. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-23.[dead link]
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