Procession of the Species

Procession of the Species
Every year the residents of Olympia, Washington, United States celebrate Earth Day (also known as International Mother Earth Day) with a festive parade called the Procession of the Species. It is one of the largest non-commercial events of its kind in the United States.

In 1995, a group of Olympia residents organized a procession to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day celebrated on April 22 and to support Congressional renewal of the Endangered Species Act. Created by the community for the community, the Procession has earned national recognition. The non-commercial event operates without government support and is made possible by community contributions.

The goal of the Procession is to celebrate the arts, the environment and Olympia’s local community. The event is created and produced by more than 100 community volunteers. Over the years, it has become a nationally recognized model for environmental and arts education, community involvement, and cultural exchange used in states around the U.S. and even abroad.

The Procession of the Species is preceded by seven weeks of art, dance and music workshops conducted by volunteers. The workshops are designed to inspire personal understanding of wildlife protection and to encourage creativity. Besides, volunteers help participants to create costumes, floats, puppets and banners for the procession using scavenged or donated materials.

The Procession features a few thousand people of all ages and backgrounds donning handmade costumes with animal, plant and element themes. There are colorful floats, banners, puppets, marching bands, community dance groups, and more. Over 30,000 spectators line the procession route, watching and cheering the participants.

The Procession of the Species has only three participation rules:

  1. No words. No written or spoken words, lyrics or symbols are allowed in the art, music or dance featured in the procession.
  2. No live animals or pets. No live animals are allowed in the Procession except for service animals.
  3. No motorized vehicles, with the exception of motorizes wheelchairs.
Procession of the Species

Photo: kshufelt




Related Articles