(Not Really) The World’s Slowest Parade

In mid June in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is the Solstice parade. This annual event brings large crowds that line the the mile or so stretch of street of the parade route. I have photographed the parade before, but only from the side of the street – trying to push my way through the people to get close enough to get an interesting photograph. This year I had the opportunity to photograph the parade from the street.
This parade is unique for sure. Every float needs to be people powered – you won’t see anything motorized. It is also refreshingly free of any kind of branding or logos as it is really just about the art.

The setup and prep for the parade starts on a small side street near the beginning of the route. It was raining during this time – not heavy rain but above a sprinkle and it was making the last minute setup of some of the floats a bit more difficult. Everything in the parade is handmade and mostly out of paper and glue so the rain was not ideal.

“The naked bike riders are not part of the Solstice Parade so please don’t give us any photos of them” said Beth Sohlberg who is one of the chief organizers of the parade as she was briefing the media team the week before the parade. She did acknowledge that the naked bike riders were considered by Seattleites to be the official start of the yearly parade.
Although one of the floats had a bit of a breakdown mid-route, this is far from the world’s slowest parade. The pace of the parade feels more like… volunteer paced (as in, things eventually get done and come together when money isn’t involved). The lack of commercialism, nobody handing out coupons or pushing any agenda whatsoever makes this event one of the most interesting and unique parades in the Emerald City – it’s really a beautiful thing.


  • Ryder Collins

    I am a photographer living in Seattle Washington that is in love with photographing those fleeting surprise moments. I have always been a people watcher, and when I picked up a camera for the first time my natural inclination was to go out on the street and photograph people. I've always been attracted to photographing the emotions of people and the oftentimes absurd nature of the human experience. At this point I am becoming most interested in visual storytelling through documentary style photography. My current work involves documenting the people of Seattle - how they live, find excitement and resiliency in this city that feels equal parts anxiety and hope.

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