|6/20/15 Platinum Carbon and other inks, Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
If you don’t live in Seattle, or you do but you also live in a cave, you might not know about or understand the phenomenon that is the Fremont Solstice Parade. A Seattle institution since 1989, this annual summer event used to consist of only the parade on a single day. More recently, however, it has turned into a full-on fair lasting three days. The parade is unusual in that motorized vehicles are not allowed, so floats must be human-powered. Another rule is that corporate logos are not allowed, and float themes tend to have a politically liberal (and usually humorous) slant. Many floats are simply celebrations of the season – a tribute to our brief and precious summer – punctuated by images of the sun.
That’s the official part of the parade. At some point early in the parade’s history, some streakers (remember them?) on bikes crashed the parade, and that has now become a regular and most popular part of the event. As many as 1,500 nude bicyclists – usually “dressed” in body paint and other adornments that don’t quite qualify as clothing – lead the parade. It’s lively, to say the least!
Although we’ve always loved the Solstice Parade, we haven’t been going in recent years because we tend to avoid crowds. But yesterday was such a gorgeous day – temps in the low 70s with a bright blue sky – we didn’t want to be left out of the annual celebration of the sun and the official start of summer! We decided to brave it.
|6/20/15 Kuretake brush pen|
Hopping on the bus to avoid the nightmare of traffic and parking, we arrived in the Fremont neighborhood just in time for the beginning of the parade. We managed to find a terrific spot high above the parade grounds near the Aurora Bridge, where we had a great view of the nude bicyclists streaking by in the hundreds! Once the rest of the parade got going, we moved further down the parade route to get a closer view. It’s difficult sketching marching bands and bicycle-powered floats as they go by, but I attempted a few minimalist gesture sketches with a brush pen. At right and below are a hoola-hoopster, a unicyclist (clothed!) and a man wearing a top hat and ostrich costume. (No, I’m not sure what his “theme” was!)
I hope your Summer Solstice is as sunny as ours is!