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Community blossoms in springtime ritual to honor the earth

On Saturday in Olympia, Wash., about 30,000 people gathered to watch marchers dressed as plants, flowers, bumblebees, flamingoes, tigers, fish, frogs, bats, butterflies, turtles, polar bears, spiders, wolves, and more.

IMG_2389Others walked with creatures they’d made, a whale, rhinoceros, and huge giraffe among the favorites.

Drill teams, some dressed as their favorite species, performed, and Samba bands played

It was the 19th annual Procession of the Species, and, despite cloudy weather, a good time was had by all. Before the parade, scores of children used free colored caulk to decorate the streets, some having outlines of themselves traced on the street. 

A group of citizens in Olympia was looking for a way to recognize Earth Day’s 25th Anniversary and to mark action in Congress to renew the Endangered Species Act in 1995. They created a community celebration now attended by thousands of people every year.

More than 100 volunteers take on the different jobs needed to make the procession happen.

A studio opens before the parade where people can make huge puppets, floats, masks, headdresses, and banners. Recycled materials and arts and crafts supplies are available. Workshops are offered.

The Procession of the Species has grown from 800 people taking part in the parade to more than 3,000.

See The Olympian’s “Procession of the Species Is Elemental to Olympia” for more information on this year’s parade.

For details on the event, see Procession of the Species Celebration.

If you'd like to plan a Procession of the Species celebration in your community, see Start a New Procession.

Copyright 2013, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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