Happy Solstice...! Fremont Parade 2009 (where art, politics and nudity can happily coexist)

Well I'm back after almost 2 months of hiatus, during which I traveled here, there, to and fro: all over France and just a bit of a toe-dip into Spain. I do plan to write about my adventures (and perhaps even some misadventures), hopefully with some kind of eco-spin to it all, or maybe just some pretty pictures, in the coming days. But first things first:

This weekend I covered the 38th annual Fremont Fair and Parade as part of the Seattle social media press corps, sponsored by Solid Ground, a local Seattle Nonprofit dedicated to raising funds, awareness and support for the needs of the homeless and underprivileged in our community. The fair celebrates the Summer Solstice, and has become synonymously linked with what has become the infamous naked bike ride, in which hundreds of cyclists, skateboarders, unicyclists, and rollerbladers/skaters paint, adorn, and decorate themselves in all manner of colorful "costumes" and themes. I'm actually not sure how the whole "naked bike ride" originated, but I'm going to take an educated leap of a guess in that it has something to do with Celtic celebration of the solstice, a liberation and joyful celebration of the true self, but I could be reading too much into what in fact, was simply a loosely organized event originally started by streakers who crashed the parade sometime in the hippie heydays.

The parade has changed over the years, as participants decided to emphasize bodypainting and other forms of creative artistry done in the spirit of the host event. The entire fair is a multi-faceted celebration of art, including musicians, vendors, street performers, and "art cars" from all over the country. The cyclists kick off the colorful and hugely celebratory parade originating in Fremont, the self-proclaimed "Center of the Universe," traveling a mile and a half to Gas Works Park, alongside Lake Union. This being only my second summer in Seattle, and my first-ever Fremont Fair, I had no idea what to expect, and showed up, camera in hand, with more than a fair amount of trepidation.

However, the Seattle energy that has come to be quite familiar to me immediately permeated the air... throngs were lining the sidewalks well before the parade was scheduled to begin. Bike riders, painted and ready to go, were visibly excited to be adorned in new roles and costumes and participating in such a community-focused, fun event. It wouldn't be a Seattle event without messages - always liberal, the parade float themes ranged from Peace to vegetarianism, saving the oceans, recycling and eliminating plastics, the Iran election, Israel-Palestinian conflict, to legalization of marijuana. There was also a healthy sprinkling of pure celebration of the (occasional) sun and (frequent) rain in this part of the world as well as some baffling abstractions. I had a blast, and, as they say... photos speak a thousand words... Check it out in the slideshow at the top of this post(Click to enlarge it)!


  1. Well said! I missed it this year (I alternate going every other year).


  2. Great photos. And see more on my flickr site.


  3. Amazing Article!!!


  4. Thank you! It was really quite the joyous celebration - everyone was so excited to be out and participating, the energy was infectious. I asked a few people if such an event could happen anywhere else, and with the exception of one answer ("Well, I grew up in Berkeley, and this kind of thing is almost an everyday occurrence...!!") the consensus was: absolutely not, this is SO Seattle! What a great city!