Summer officially arrived in Seattle this Saturday, one day earlier than the rest of the planet courtesy of our friends at the Center Of The Universe, the Fremont Arts Council, which kicked off the Season of the Sun with their 33rd annual Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade benefitting the Fremont Public Association, a community social services agency for whom I worked back in the early '90's.
The parade, which runs through the heart of the Fremont neighborhood on the Northwest edge of Lake Union is a light-hearted affair, open to all participants, and with a mere handful of rules: no motorized vehicles, no displays of signs or wording, no live animals (or presumably dead ones, either), and no guns or weapons. Otherwise, it's pretty much anything goes, and in keeping with the pagan spirit of the proceedings, nudity in some form has been an integral, albeit somewhat controversial aspect.
In past years, the naked bikers have garnered press attention far beyond their numbers, generally due to the decidedly ineffectual efforts on the part of the Seattle Police Dept. to crack down on the handful of unclad pedalists who inevitably show up. This year, however there must have been some sort of collective call, because the Parade started with -- not a few, not a dozen or even a score, but HUNDREDS of bikers-in-the-buff, most decked out in colorful body painted adornments.
But, there's a lot more to the Parade than nude bicyclists, and given the egalitarian nature of the event, you can expect everything from hordes of red-clad bellydancers:
to bunches of cavorting bananas:
to floats of all shapes, colors and sizes:
(This one must have been sponsored by the local Chiropractors' Association)
In addition to the Parade, there's also a Street Fair featuring craft and food booths, lots of live music and -- my favorite -- an exhibition of "art cars":
Needless to say, when the weather cooperates -- as it did spectacularly this weekend -- it's a great place to be. Next year though, I'll definitely remember the sunscreen.
on 12:54 PM