Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fremont Solstice Parade 2011

Today was a wet, dreary, 50-something-degree Seattle day. So what? We celebrated the upcoming Summer Solstice anyway!

(Can someone remind me again what summer is?)

Aaron and I took over my garage for two hours of painting prior to the Fremont Solstice Parade. We used inexpensive foam brushes to apply five colors of non-toxic textile acrylic paint, which we got from Artist & Craftsman Supply in the U District. I wanted to be really bright and colorful — mission accomplished!

We finished painting with about 15 minutes to spare before we had to meet up with the painted Solstice Cyclists at the head of the parade. It was freezing outside, but we zoomed over to Fremont and made it just in time!

Although most painted cyclists in the parade were partially or fully nude, we covered up all the parts you'd normally cover, and I was perfectly comfortable that way. The point of the parade — which is put on by the Fremont Arts Council — is to be artistic and have fun. We did both!

I expected to feel pretty awkward riding my bike next to completely naked people, but I was surprised to find that it wasn't awkward at all! The parade atmosphere was incredibly open and fun, and although it was a little shocking to see so many taboo body parts at first, I quickly got over it. I probably would have felt more awkward as a spectator, to be honest.

Even though my lady-parts were covered, my bright paint attracted a lot of attention, and I noticed a lot of photographers taking my picture. I'm very glad those pictures are G-rated!

It was such a blast to ride through downtown Fremont with all the crazy painted cyclists. The sidewalks were incredibly packed with smiling and cheering spectators, and it was fun to see the amazing effort put into many of the cyclists' paint designs and costumes. For example, here's a fairly tame photo of women painted as bees. Cute!

We circled through downtown twice before Aaron and I decided to head home. It was so, so chilly!! The adventure was well worth it, though... as long as I don't catch a cold right before my half-marathon!

Why watch the parade when you can be in it? I'm not sure I'll be able to spectate this parade now that I know how much fun it is to participate.

Here's hoping for better weather next year!


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