Two of the many descriptors you could use for the Pacific Northwest are quirky and passionate. The slogan for Portland, OR, for example, is ‘Keep Portland Weird’ and there’s an entire show slightly exaggerating the weird nature of the city. To protest the planned Arctic Drilling, there were many here in the northwest that took to the waters a few years ago and became kayaktivists to stop equipment from leaving the region. There were even a few activists who dangled off the St. John’s Bridge in Portland to further make the point against arctic drilling.
Passionate and quirky are vital parts of live here in the Pacific Northwest, to say the least. And a part of that life is the annual Procession of the Species! Each spring in many different cities around the northwest, there is a parade of sorts to celebrate the Earth and all the species that call this place home. These processions are colorful, full of costumes and art, joyful, and so much more.
The first procession started by a group of Olympia, WA residents in 1995 as a positive show of support for Earth Day (which was celebrating its 25th anniversary that year!). The event has grown over the last couple decades and there are now thousands of people involved in Olympia’s procession as both participants and onlookers. Plus, the event has spread to other cities around the world over the years too! There have been past processions in cities like Managua, Nicaragua, Madison, Wisconsin, Wichita, Kansas, and many cities all around the Pacific Northwest.
Here are some of the Procession of the Species events that are happening here in the northwest this year:
- Olympia, Washington: 4:30pm on Saturday, April 28th, 2018
- Procession starts at the intersection of Legion Way and Cherry Street in downtown Olympia
- Bellingham, Washington: 4pm on Saturday, May 5th, 2018
- Procession starts at the central branch of the Bellingham Public Library in downtown and ends at the Maritime Heritage Park
A similar event from the same team behind Olympia’s Procession is the Luminary Procession. This procession is happening on Friday, April 27th at 9:30pm this year and will be a parade of lights and illumination! People often make paper models of stars, flowers, animals, and so much more to light up during the event. I honestly don’t think words could ever do this event justice so I recommend looking at the photos from last year’s Luminary Procession! For this year’s event, meet up at 5th and Washington in downtown Olympia.
There have been a few processions that have sadly already happened. Lopez Island, Washington, Corvallis, Oregon, and Albany, Oregon all had their processions coincide with Earth Day weekend. If you missed the procession in your area this year, there’s always next year! And the photos from these events are always cool to see.
*Poster for Bellingham’s 2018 Procession designed and created by Phoebe Wahl. To see the full poster, click here.