The Fremont Solstice Parade is wacky. In fact, the whole Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is wacky.
Fremont, the self-proclaimed "Center of the Universe" is not only know for its Troll under the bridge, and giant statue of Lenin on a street corner, but also for an event that happens every year in June: The Summer Solstice Parade and Pageant.
The Fremont Solstice Parade is held annually and put on by the Fremont Arts Council, which supports the arts and artists in Fremont. The parade was started by Barbara Luecke and Peter Toms in 1989 (who were inspired by a similar event in Santa Barbara, California) and it wasn't very long before the parade became super popular with both spectators as well as participants.
The parade and pageant are the kick-off events for the Fremont Fair and consists of hundreds of dancers, musicians, a number of other creative entrants that wander down N.W. 36th and finally ends at Gasworks Park. The fair is free but the Fremont Arts Council is always willing to take donations to help those in poverty.
What makes the parade so famous, however, isn't necessarily the fair, but something a bit more interesting. Every year the parade organizers encourage creative and crazy floats and even have rules for them, such as the prohibition on words or logos, no advertisements, and no motorized vehicles or live animals.
But the one thing that is allowed, and that will probably make you think twice before heading to the Fremont neighborhood during this event are the Solstice Cyclists. Also known as The Painted [Naked] Cyclists of the Solstice Parade, these cyclists often ride in the nude, with only body paint covering their bodies. There has been some controversy over the years regarding the cyclists, but they are a mainstay of the parade and this is not likely to change. There are even body-painting parties held beforehand where groups get together to prepare for the event.
Here's a short video showing some highlights from the parade, specifically of one particular group that has been a popular part of the parade for many years now, the Belly Dancers:
So in the end, the Fremont Solstice Parade is definitely an interesting event but probably one you'll want to think twice about before you bring your entire family. There's always the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.