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Procession of the Species in Olympia

One+of+the+many+animals+that+people+create+for+the+parade.
One of the many animals that people create for the parade.

One of the many animals that people create for the parade.

Living Green Olympia

Living Green Olympia

One of the many animals that people create for the parade.

Claire Ramsey, Writer

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To members of the Olympia community, the Procession of the Species is more than a parade, it is a chance to build connections between the city and the natural world. The celebration is a chance to show respect for the Earth and its many creatures, to bond with neighbors and friends, and to enjoy the effort and artistry put into the festivities.

This year, the Procession will be held on Saturday April 29, 2017 at 4:30pm and the preceding Luminary Procession will be the night before at 9:30pm. At approximately 3:30pm on the 29th, sidewalk chalk will be provided to spectators along the parade route. Viewers are encouraged to cover the streets in nature scenes and avoid any written words or symbols. As the procession makes way along its course, spectators are allowed to join in the march so long as they follow the three rules, no written words or symbols, no pets/live animals, and no motorized vehicles (with the exception of motorized wheelchairs). There are lots of ways to support the celebration both as a participant and as an observer. In order to keep the festivities running smoothly year after year, volunteers and donations are greatly appreciated, information for both is located on the Procession of the Species website (www.procession.org).

Back in 1995, a group of Olympia community members decided to organize an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day and to support the Congressional renewal of the Endangered Species Act. The group pulled together to create a public celebration, designed to be a positive statement of support. Thus, the Procession of the Species was born. Today, the Procession has grown from a group of community members to a city-wide celebration and the largest annual Earth Day event in the Puget Sound area. Audiences are attracted to the amazing art, music, and dance that is built into the celebration. Since its creation, the Procession of the Species has put Olympia on the map as a prime cultural tourism location. According to organizers of the event, it has swollen from having 800 participants and 3,000 spectators, to having 2,500 participants and raking in over 35,000 viewers as of 2004. The event was founded on several basic tenets that are followed to this day, over twenty years after its establishment. The tenets include providing a long-term cultural exchange rather than short-term entertainment, empowering a role in global preservation, and more.

The Procession of the species is a celebration of Earth unlike any other and is widely respected amongst the Olympia community. The event is still around only because of the fantastic support of Olympia citizens, donors, as well as artists and musicians who provide awing performances.

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Procession of the Species in Olympia