Calvacade

13 Sep 2013

Before moving to Seattle, I don’t think I’d seen an honest-to-goodness, down-home, American parade ever. I’d like to think if there had been actual parade anywhere near where I lived that I would have gone. I like the idea of parades. I think I’m the kind of person who would enjoy parades and believes in going out and supporting the community as it marches down the street.

 

I went to Love Parade when I lived in Berlin (not a real parade) and demonstrations in college (parade-like but not actual parades). In high school I was on a parade float for homecoming one year but I can’t remember what the float was for – maybe Honor Society or Journalism? I have no idea and I don’t remember ever actually attending the parade other years. Once in junior high I was almost in a parade with the marching band (I played the trumpet for all of a parent-coerced year and a half) but then it rained and the parade was called off and never rescheduled.

 

I remember going with my mother to watch the Olympic torch run through our town as a child. That was kind of like a parade, people lined the streets. But I don’t think there was candy or a lot more to see than one guy running down Main  Street Moore, Oklahoma with a torch. Sorting through all my memories of childhood, the closest thing to an actual parade that I can remember ever seeing was the nightly light parades at Disney World and even those, I feel like we just got to see the periphery because that was the best time to ride the rides, when everyone else was distracted by the parade and the lines were short.

 

In summation, until moving to Seattle I lived a pretty paradeless life. And was probably the better for it.

 

Seattleites love their parades and the kookier, the better. Living pretty central in the city we have easy access to a wide variety of parades celebrating everything from community, workers rights, pirates and the changing of the seasons, to the right to ride a bicycle naked because it feels good.

 

Last year we ran in to the parade of naked bicyclists on our way to a party and were able to catch just a glimpse of their full glory. This year we decided to see what all the nudey hoopla and hula hoops were about. Why would you not go? It’s people riding bikes naked six blocks from our home.  We only had to walk down the street to watch the revealing excitement roll by.

 

The naked cyclists are a precursor to an annual Solstice parade in the neighborhood next to ours. This year an estimated 1,000 naked cyclists took part. ONE THOUSAND NAKED CYCLISTS. It takes a long time for 1,000 naked cyclists to ride by and, truth be told, after about 200, you’ve kind of seen it all.

 

The naked cyclists were followed by one of the better parades our summer of promenades would see. We attended six parades during the 2012-2013 marching season, including participation in our school’s neighborhood parade (complete with decorated strollers, dirndled children and candy distribution). I think the lack of parades in my childhood created an irresistible compulsion that demands I attend every parade within a 10 mile circumference of our home. In that spirit, we happily bid farewell to summer and welcome this year’s parade-free rainy season with open arms.

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