Friday, June 17, 2011

Why Watch the (Naked) Parade When You Can Be In It?

I’ve never really liked parades. I always see people camping out along parade routes with folding chairs and coolers hours ahead of time, waiting excitedly for the floats and dancers and clowns to arrive. I just don’t get it.

I thought it was because clowns scare the crap out of me.

While that’s true, I realized the real reason last summer, when I was invited to participate in a parade. I had a blast riding on a float, waving to spectators, handing out balloons to children and throwing candy into the crowd. I was all like, hey, I LOVE parades!

What I realized is that I don’t like standing on the sidelines watching others have all the fun; I want to be a part of the action!

So a week ago, when Aaron suggested we watch the Fremont Solstice Parade this weekend, I responded with, “Nope – we’re gonna be in the parade.”

The main draw of the Fremont Solstice Parade is the Solstice Cyclists, a group of folks who lead the parade on bicycles sporting full body paint. Many of them, famously, are completely naked.

Sounds like fun, right??

It took some convincing, but Aaron finally agreed to ride in the parade. We’ll sport full body paint along with subtle undergarments that’ll show nothing more than what you’d see at any public beach.

(Two reasons: There’s a very high chance that co-workers will be among the spectators – awkwaaard!; I want to post pictures on this blog, and I’m not in the business of naked photos!)

Even though we won’t be showing the “full monty,” it still takes some courage to sport body paint and little clothing in a very popular parade. And not everyone appreciates the tradition; some online commenters describe the painted cyclists as “a bunch of narcissists attempting to draw attention to themselves,” and the parade itself as “public perversion in a Christian nation.”

Other commenters who enjoy the parade say, “The murmur in the crowd [last year] was, ‘I need to lose weight and enter next year,’” and, “It’s a Seattle tradition that’s fun, colorful and popular... Don’t like it? Don’t come.”

I agree with the latter folks. Plus, this little adventure has all the right answers to the questions I typically ask myself when I decide whether to participate in anything new:

Would I have been too afraid to do this a year or two ago? Will it be fun and exciting? Will it be scary? Will I come out of this experience with more confidence after conquering a fear? Will I regret it if I just stand on the sidelines and watch it pass me by?

Fremont Solstice Parade, here I come!

Do you participate in most things, or do you like to watch instead? What fun events have you watched that you’d like to be a part of next time?


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  1. Devon, if you're biking in the parade, you HAVE to go full monty. No excuses! I'm going to the parade tomorrow, hope I see you :)

  2. Haha, sorry Perl, not as long as I work side-by-side with TONS of people who live in Fremont! I've got my "outfit" and it's actually more modest than some swimsuits I own... but maybe another time. Hope to see you there!


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