Some intriguing firsts for Seattle’s traditional Fremont Solstice Parade.
If you count the painted cyclists as part of the parade (they used to be, anyway), it started on time. In fact, it started a bit early. If you got there the traditional 15 to 20 minutes late, you missed most of the painted cyclists.
If you don’t count the painted cyclists, the thing started around an hour late! The cyclists did not lead out the floats. After the cyclists ran through the corridor, nothing happened for so long that a certain number of people (especially parents with small children) gave it up.
One reason for the huge gap is that the cyclists were literally freezing their asses off. At the noon starting time, it was traditional Junuary in Seattle, 57 degrees, overcast, a slight breeze that lowered the “feels like” temps almost to the 40s. We were chilly in sleeves and tights and cannot imagine what it must have felt like milling around waiting for the traditionally late floats to get their act together.
There were a lot more naked cyclists than traditionally. Not sure why this is. Perhaps a crack team of investigative reporters can get on this one. Somehow the word is getting out that riding naked in the Fremont Parade is the cool thing to do. It’s certainly the cold thing to do. It was hard to count them all because they rode in clumps and, unlike the traditional figure-8, lazy Mazie style, just kept riding right through.
There was a lot more actual nakedness than traditionally. Some riders had hardly any body paint. A few riders did not cover up with bikini shorts and/or tops. Many were visibly flopping around. This went slightly counter to the official Fremont Solstice Parade line, which is to wrap the packages so the kiddies don’t see. Our response: If you are concerned about your kiddies, don’t bring them to the start of the Fremont Solstice Parade. In fact, you might want to avoid the Republic of Fremont in general.
Despite the weather, the crowd was bigger than ever. And noisier.
It all adds up to further evidence of what we think of as New Seattle — bolder, saucier, less discreet, more open. And younger. We don’t get naked like, say, Rio or Portland or San Francisco yet, but we’re trending further and quicker in their direction. If anything, the Solstice Parade is becoming Seattle’s version of the Brazilian Carnaval.
More on complaints about the start time from the Fremont Universe (see comments).
In Portland, they really know how to get naked!
Seattle Times: Chilly but fun.
More and more photos.