Posted April 10, 2015 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment
 
 

The Procession is Coming



By Phoebe Celeste

Started in 1995 as a way to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day and the renewal of the Endangered Species Act, The Procession of the Species is a popular, uniquely Olympian event.

The event essentially consists of a group of participants dressing up to represent creatures from the natural world and parading down 5th Avenue on foot, with spectators attending the event as well. The night prior to the Procession of the Species, there is a smaller Luminary Procession, featuring a parade of light sculptures, which takes place during the Olympia Spring Arts Walk. The celebration has earned recognition throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond, with a number of other processions popping up in mimicry of the concept.

Costumes for the Procession of the Species include different species of animals and plants as well as natural elements. Some Evergreen programs create costumes for the event annually. This year, the dance, music and theater class “The Empty Space” is creating vulture costumes for their participation in the procession.

The event is community organized, with no current state funding. Leading up to the event, there is normally a volunteer-run studio that usually pops up for public use, and a number of workshops on luminary, dance, art and music. Although there will still be workshops this year, a letter posted on the Procession’s website (procession.org) explains that there will not be a centralized studio available for 2015 “because it is a concept that necessarily needs to take a hiatus for the next couple years so that the true costs of producing such a studio can be fully evaluated, and the required funding fully realized.” While they won’t be maintaining a community arts studio, the letter explains, there are still a number of costs to be covered that don’t currently have proper funding.

As the event draws nearer, all of us art, nature and community lovers should mark our calendars for the Luminary Procession Friday, April 24 at 9:30 p.m. and the Procession of the Species on Saturday, April 25 at 4:30 p.m. And remember, if you plan to participate in the procession, there are 3 essential rules: no pets, no motorized vehicles, and no written words.