A universe of self-expression at Fremont Solstice Parade
The 25th edition of the Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade ranged from the silly to the sexy and got off to its usual start with hundreds of naked, or nearly so, bicyclists.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Allie Kerr cut a majestic figure at the Fremont Solstice Parade on Saturday.
Walking on stilts behind hundreds of naked bicyclists, she wore a giant white bird costume, part of a cadre at the start of the official parade wearing white and silver in honor of its 25th year.
Behind her was an hours-long parade filled with celebrants ranging from sexy to silly.
“There are two elephants and two whales this year. I don’t even know how to handle that,” joked Kerr, who has worn stilts in the parade since 2005 and says that makes the roughly 1.5-mile route feel like 15 million. “You feel it creaking in your bones after a while.”
Her spotter — the person who looks out for a stilts-walker — was Megan Gott, who had hoped to walk on stilts of her own until she broke her tailbone eight weeks ago.
“I’d be a ferocious monster,” said Gott, who instead spent time before the parade making loud seagull noises that called attention to Kerr’s beautiful bird.
“It’s a scissor-tailed tern,” Kerr said, then paused. “Look up a photo of a scissor-tailed tern, and if that’s not it, then it’s a scissor-tailed something else.”
The parade is known for its unofficial starters — cyclists who ride naked or mostly naked. Many paint their bodies to depict nature, Smurfs and even the WNBA Seattle Storm.
The array behind them Saturday included dancing marching bands, steampunk enthusiasts and disco dancers.
The members of one marching band wore bunny ears and arrived before the parade started in an old Nevada Division of Forestry bus.
“The ears make it easier to find each other,” said Mike Smith, who plays trombone in the 23-member band Environmental Encroachment from Chicago.
Like other bands in the parade this year, the group was in town for HONK! Fest West, which partnered with the Fremont Arts Council and entertained people at the parade’s end in Gas Works Park.
The fair accompanying the parade included booths for nudist parks, acupuncture and psychic readings. Keeping the scene this side of a Burning Man preview was a booth for Chase Bank.
Some paraders were there just for fun.
“We’re the Sol Train ... and I’m the train captain,” said Gregg Krogstad, watching a dozen friends watching a dozen friends practice their dance moves while wearing wigs made of recycled bags and yellow caution tape.
Others were promoting something.
A fetchingly attired group of steampunk fans were there to promote Steamcon V, which takes place in October in Bellevue. Fellow parade walkers stopped to take their pictures, including some of Ed Brown, who wore robotic-silver face paint, an aviator hat and goggles, and rode a 1943 Hercules bicycle.
Still others had a spiritual bent.
Courtney Linclau, for example, rode as a painted, almost-nude cyclist for the first time Saturday.
The last time she rode was without paint. “I got undressed at the side of the road and joined,” Linclau recalled.
This year, muralist Ryan “Henry” Ward “painted an owl on me,” she said, displaying the colorful front of her body.
Then Linclau turned her back, where she has a large tattoo inspired by Alex Grey’s book, “The Mission of Art.”
A giant eye near her shoulder blades comes from a quote she recited that the book attributed to St. Augustine: “Our whole purpose in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart, by which God may be seen.”
And we are back to the Burning Man preview.
Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or email@example.com. Twitter @AllisonSeattle.
Information in this article, originally published Sunday, June 23, 2013, was corrected on June 25. A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Gregg Krogstad and his group, the Sol Train Solstice. Members of the group wore wigs made of recycled bags in addition to yellow caution tape.