I heart Seattle: the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade

Let's get this party started right.

Let's get this party started right.

Every year on the solstice weekend, one of our funkier, more eclectic neighborhoods throws a huge weekend party to celebrate. The party starts with a parade on Saturday morning, which is infamous for it’s naked cyclists, who kick-off the parade each year.

There are some great things to be learned from this über-green, hippy-dippy of festivals (as a girl from Santa Fe who brought tarot cards to Seattle, I mean that in the BEST way). So after the jump, five things we can learn from this festival AND video of naked cyclists!

Corporations don’t have to own everything we do

I'm your economic stimulus package!

I'm your economic stimulus package!

The parade has only three rules:

no printed words or logos

no motor vehicles (except wheelchairs)

no animals (except service animals.

Don’t let the beautiful simplicity of these rules fool you, this is revolutionary as far as I’m concerned. I can’t tell you how powerful it was to see something so homegrown and home-made. It lacked that slickness that comes from advertisers deep pockets and product placement.

We have come to accept that we will be inundated with advertising anytime we attend any sort of event from the moment we approach (hello Key arena, Qwest Field and  Safeco field).  You know Ole Bonita loves to stick it to the man! Can I get a what what for culture jamming?

Art Matters

The creativity in that parade was awe-inspiring. There was humor, satire and and commentary delivered through beauty and fun. For example, this group called Ice Queens was made completely from repurposed materials, intended to raise awareness for melting ice caps.

Ice Queens

Ice Queens

Here’s another favorite entitled: Flow around the obstacles. This theme is “inspired by the air of situations around us and the course of our future.” (If they knew my new term Wu Wei Revolution, it would have applied nicely:)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It’s a message we hear so often, it hardly penetrates. But this group, the Bag Monsters, is here to remind of us the “ocean of problems created by disposable bags. This is a stark reminder of what we are doing every time we DON’T bring reusable bags in the store with us. Art saves, baby!

Oceans of Problems

Oceans of Problems

And the entire parade is made of reused materials. That’s part of the glory. Entire bands made of found objects. All costumes are made from around the house. At one point, a guy walked by pushing a speaker resting on an antique wheelchair from the turn of the century.

Following Junk

Following Junk

Be a tourist in your own city

Despite the fact that Mr. Applebum is from Seattle and I have been here eleven years, this was our FIRST TIME to the parade. I am so glad we finally righted that wrong! Will we go back next? Hell to the Yeah!

If you had a visitor in town, I’ll bet you could rattle off 4 –  5 cool things to do in your area. I ask you, how many of those things have you done? Loose the I’m too cool to do the touristy stuff attitude and get out and start loving on your city. It’s a great way to start reconnecting with each other and strengthening our community.

I heart Fremont.

I heart Fremont.

Dance like no one is watching

I love the unabashed joy in these dancers.  I love the random guy dressed in black at the back of the line, that looks like he just jumped in. Clearly these people are not hindered by body issues, fear nor embarrassment. We could all take a page from their book.

And now without further ado, the naked cyclists

Sorry about the amateur video, but it’s probably better that way. Trust me.


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